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Jurgen Klinsmann

Post- Game Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT vs. Mexico


U.S. MNT vs. Mexico
Post-Game Quote Sheet
Estadio Azteca; Mexico City, Mexico
Aug. 15, 2012

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN

On the win against Mexico:
“I think it’s huge. It’s huge for all American fans and it’s huge for the team. It’s historic. We were well aware that we’ve never won here at Azteca and this is an amazing experience for all the players. We told them before the game, ‘This moment is for you, go and grab it.’ We are aware that is was a lot of work. Tim Howard kept us in the game I don’t know how many times. It was an absolutely fantastic performance by Tim. Also, the back line were holding their strength for the whole 90 minutes. It was a fantastic team performance. We know we still have to improve in many elements. We have to keep the ball longer, we have to create more chances and we have to do a lot of work still, but I think this gives us a lot of confidence.”

On instilling a winning mentality:
“It’s the belief and the mental aspect of it. Eventually, you need a little bit of luck too and in some instances we were a little bit lucky tonight and we had Tim Howard in our goal. I think the team really knew what to expect, it was difficult at high altitude and many of them flew in from Europe two days ago, but we had a plan and we tried to execute that plan. Getting that win here, it’s quite enjoyable.”

On his overall thoughts on the game:
“I think in such a moment that is very special for us, I want to thank everybody from the Mexican Federation and people here that made this couple of days for us very special. It’s a wonderful moment because winning a game against a very good Mexican team that we have a lot of respect for at the Azteca Stadium, that means a lot to us. That was very difficult for us and Tim Howard made some unbelievable saves, and I’ve said it many times over the last few years that he belongs to the top 3 goalkeepers in the world and he showed that tonight. He kept us in that game and also our belief in winning here kept us in the game. It’s a very special moment for our team and for fans.”

On the performance of the U.S. squad:

“When you analyze a game, you see many things that you want to improve and make better. In the first half, we had big problems to keep the ball and to get the ball to Herculez Gomez up front to create chances, but Mexico too had no chances in the first half. In the second half, they had clearly more chances than we had and it became really difficult. I think with the presence of two strikers up front we found more people and we were able to play out of the back and combine certain things. There are many elements to improve, but in a certain way this was a very important win for us because we risked a couple things purposefully. We introduced two new center backs to this team that did a marvelous job. We had Edgar Castillo starting from the beginning and we moved things around because we left some experienced and good players at home in Europe. We knew this was going to be tough tonight, but this team was very focused the last three days and they feel very privileged to have the occasion to play Mexico at Azteca and at the end of the day you enjoy that moment.”

On the importance of playing big teams in big stadiums:
“I think it’s important for us to understand that we can compete with big teams at their stadiums. Its like when you play Wembley in England or Stade de France or in Berlin. hose are special occasion. I want the players to appreciate that. I want the players to take it all in because you never know when you’ll have another occasion like that. That’s what we told the players: You have nothing to lose here. Give it all you have. Can we play better? Yes. Can we play technically cleaner? Yes. But these kinds of moments when you build a program or are in a transition and focusing in the long term toward Brazil and short term getting qualified. Moments like today and in February winning in Italy in February are really important.”

On if he feels his team deserved a victory:
“We know that Tim Howard kept us in the game. We know that Mexico created far more chances than we did. They had far more possession and they have wonderful players. We admire them. I think that if you ask the Mexican players, they feel that there is an American team there that is very tough to beat. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck, which we had, to win in a game like that. When you’re on the field, you sense certain things that even the Mexican side felt that those Americans are tough to beat today.”

On taking risks with an inexperienced back line:

“It’s important in a moment that we’re in a transition period, you try to introduce new elements to the game and  try to change a couple of things. Having success in friendly games helps you because it helps you from a team side and that they believe more in what we’re doing. When we have a few days with players in camp, we hit them with a lot of things and we’re trying out new elements. We want to try and get closer to the top 10 nations in the world. We know we’re not there yet. Does it mean a lot to us winner at Azteca Stadium even if we have some luck? Yes, it does.” 

On the larger picture of the U.S. friendly against Mexico:
“We planned through over the last couple weeks what we wanted to achieve at Azteca besides hopefully a good results. We said if there is a moment to give a new back line a chance then it’s at a game like this because it’s extremely difficult and you have to prove  right away if you’re capable. We knew we’d get a lot of answers, no matter the result, out of this game. The way Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron played in the center and Edgar Castillo proved himself in a big game means a lot to us and I think they deserve a big compliment.”

On developing a style of play:
“Our style will evolve over time and that is probably is between two World Cup cycles. The kind that is developed through your players, through the players that add different elements in the game. We won’t be able to define it 100 percent because it’s down to the players and what they do on the field. What influences they have and what qualities they have. I think our wish is that we want to move the whole game up front, our wish is to keep the ball longer, combine in a way that is longer and better than what it was tonight. Also, it is important that we learn from a mental perspective that you have to put in everything that you can give and believe strongly in beating big teams. A win here and a win in Italy, it shows you that you’ve got to try and build something over time. What we’re trying to do and working mainly on it to become more consistent. We need more consistency in everything that we do. We have a good game and a bad game. We need to be more consistent in what we do.”

U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On the win against Mexico at Estadio Azteca:
It took a lot of grit and determination. We went out there and played our hearts out tonight. It’s not lost on any of us that we made history. We’re just so proud of those guys. We worked hard. We played well and we had to weather their storm most of the game and we did that.

On the distractions created by the crowd:
I think it’s the less you pay attention the better. If you start calling attention to it, it seems like more lasers come out. Trying to get them to stop it would be futile. It’s part of the game now, you hope that the stadium and FIFA to do something about it, but we don’t expect it and just get on with it.

On the play of the U.S. defensive back line:
They were fantastic. We didn’t have a lot of time to work the kinks out. We talked about it in the dressing room before that it wasn’t going to be perfect, but let’s work on it as the game goes and they were rock solid. Without those guys we would’ve lost the game tonight, they were absolutely outstanding.

On his feelings after beating Mexico:
“It’s something I’ve thought about for a long, long time. We’ve never done it and in your national team career you might only get a few opportunities. The odds are against you. I’ve thought long and hard that if I could be a part of a team that won, we’d be a part of history. It’s special and it’s important to us. It’s not the end of the road, we’ve got a long way to go and we’ll keep working, but this is a huge step forward for us.”

U.S. defender MICHAEL OROZCO FISCAL
On what is means to beat Mexico:
“This means a lot to me because my parents are Mexican, but I was born in the U.S., but since Day One I’ve chose to defend the U.S. and I’ve done it with honor and a lot of respect to the country. One thing that gives me the strength is that my family is always beside me. It’s a play that you’re right in front of the goal and in the blink of an eye you can make a difference and today, that was the difference.”

What it means to score the game-winning goal:
“It means a lot of honor. It’s a lot of respect to the country, we’re making history today. I dedicate this to my family because they’re always behind me 110 percent. Now, we’ve got to improve ourselves day-by-day.”

On the U.S. struggling to connect and create opportunities:
“At the end of the day, if they had 10 or 20 opportunities to score on us, we were very concentrated in the back and that doesn’t matter. The goal makes the difference and we would’ve taken the three points.”

On focusing on a winning mentality:
“We talked about it all week. This time was our time to make history and there was no turning back. I never thought I was going to score this goal, but if I would’ve had 5, 10 or 90 minutes to play that I was going to give it all with a lot of pride because I wanted to make history.”

U.S. forward BREK SHEA
On the match:
“I’m happy we won and made history. It’s a big thing because we’ve never done that before. It’s awesome to be a part of.”

On his opportunity to get into the match and make a difference:
“If we win, we win. If I’m a part of it, it’s awesome. I was happy to get in and be back with the guys and contribute.”

U.S. forward LANDON DONOVAN
On the match:
“At the end of the day, we don’t win any trophies for winning tonight and we don’t get any points for it, but considering the history so we’re going to enjoy it tonight.”

On what it takes to win at Estadio Azteca:
“It takes a lot of everything. It takes a lot of hard work on a difficult field against a difficult opponent with difficult conditions. It takes belief and I think Jurgen did a great job this week of making us believe we can do it. It takes them missing some chances and us scoring the chance we got.”

On the team’s performance:
“I think the performance was great. Even if they scored a goal, I think we could hold our head high and say we played well here. Most teams come here and struggle mightily. I thought the pace of the game was under our control even though they had a lot of the ball. I was very proud of how we did.”

On what the team can take away from the match against Mexico:
“That’s the most important thing that you gain from tonight. That’s why I say even if we lost the game or tied the game; I think the belief would be there now that we can do it. We want to keep in all in perspective, we didn’t play in a World Cup final tonight, but I think we’re excited about the prospect of what we did.”

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