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Jurgen Klinsmann

U.S. MNT vs. Russia Post Game Quote Sheet

U.S. MNT vs. Russia Quote Sheet
International Friendly
Kuban Stadium; Krasnodar, Russia

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the match against Russia:
“We saw a very entertaining game. Russia proved why they are one of the best teams in Europe, and we wanted to see how good we are against such a strong team. I think you saw we can compete with very good teams in the world. The way our team fought back twice after being down a goal was great.  It showed a lot of personality. It showed a lot of character. This is a young team, and a team that is growing. We are pleased with the game overall, and to score in the last minute was great.”

On the introduction of several young players into the roster:
“It was important for us to introduce some younger players to the senior level. I think they all did great. There is nothing to lose for them in a game like that. They can only win. Obviously, Joshua Gatt won his first cap for the United States. So, you are pleased for them. For us, it’s important that we have these youngsters grow step-by-step. Our team over the last 6-12 months grew a lot. We developed a lot more personality and confidence to compete with the best teams out there. We still have a long way to go, but I think we have a very good path and these younger players are a very important part of this path. Hopefully, we get more opportunities to give them playing time.”

On the slow start and how the team got better as the game progressed:
“At halftime we said to the team if they continue to play like they did the 20-25 minutes before halftime, then we have a game. There’s a whole half to play, and maybe we can equalize or win that game. For our players it’s important that in an international game you have to be spot on from the first second on. We have to be sharper and mentally fresher in those decisive moments. We can’t give away things like we did the first goal, but I think I see a team that is really growing together. We have even more youngsters and players coming through. We are pleased that we have great leaders like Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley… I think they are role models for the younger players so they grow around them. Geoff Cameron is becoming a very important player. I think you saw Jozy Altidore today was a handful. He gets a big, big compliment for his performance.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD

On the match against Russia:
“We know we have our determination and our fight. There were some good points: we were able to fight back and be resilient and find a goal or two when we needed it. The learning part of the game is just trying to cut back on some of the mistakes because at this level we gave them two chances that they didn’t create themselves and they took advantage of it. We have to learn from that and get better.”

On the team’s effort to come back from down a goal twice:
“It’s a strong group in terms of personality and character. We know we’ve got a lot of fight and a lot of heart. We’re still a pretty young team and we need to grow and get better and we will. At this level little mistakes cost. The good teams play a nearly perfect 90 minutes and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

On the calendar year for the U.S. Men’s National Team:
“We only had two losses, a bunch of wins, some really hard-fought draws and we topped the group [in World Cup qualifying]. It was a really fantastic year. It’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s a really good, positive year for this group.”

On what helped the U.S. come back against Russia:
“A willingness and a never-say-die attitude and I think we showed that again tonight in a tough place to come and play. I thought the team showed a lot of resilience and attitude.”

On the last 12 months as a team:
“I think the team has grown a lot in a lot of ways and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I think we’re finding our identity again and that’s important going into the nature of the final qualifying round. It’s going to be tough, but we’ve grown a lot.”

U.S. midfielder MIX DISKERUD
On his game-tying goal in second-half stoppage time:
“It was a long ball and I was hoping with all my heart that it would come back to me and it did. I got a nice strike and a little deflection and it went in.”

On the match against Russia:
“We came back twice and in the first 10-15 minutes they were pressuring us, but more as the game evolved we came higher up the field and started to combine a little bit more.”

On the challenge of facing Russia:
“Russia is a good team and they’ve shown that many, many times throughout the years now. It feels very good [to earn a draw] and now we can just build this forward from the last game of the year.”

On the match against Russia:
“I think the response and the character from the team was great tonight. I think we came in at halftime frustrated with ourselves, not so much from the end of the first half, but from the way we started. We talked about wanting to have a good start and putting them under pressure from the beginning. We were too casual from the start and good teams make you pay. Maybe we were a little lucky after the first 15 minutes that it was only 1-0. To our credit, we did a good job of responding and finding a way to fight and claw our way back into it and I thought the end of the first half was very good and into the second half. I think we deserved at least a point.”

On his goal:
“Someone put the ball forward to Juan [Agudelo] and Juan did a great job of seeing that I was going off him and putting the ball on my right foot. I caught it perfect and was happy to see it go into the goal.”

On the calendar year:
“We’re moving ourselves forward. It’s a constant battle for respect and improvement. We’re honest with ourselves and see that a lot of things are going in the right direction, but we’re hard enough on ourselves to know that we have a year-and-a-half left to still take a few things up a notch.”