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Klinsmann: "We’re All Ready"

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and midfielder Clint Dempsey addressed the media on Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s rematch against Jamaica in World Cup Qualifying in Columbus, Ohio.

© Florian Eisele/isiphotos.com

IN THE IMAGE: U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann

U.S. MNT Press Conference
World Cup Qualifying Pre-Match Conference
Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 10, 2012

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On training and game preparation for Tuesday’s match against Jamaica:
“We are looking forward to the game tomorrow night because there is a sense within the group that we need to fix a couple of points. We didn’t get the result we wanted in Jamaica which puts us in a position that we have to get those points back and we want to desperately do that tomorrow night against Jamaica. Training has been good, very focused and sharp. I think we discussed enough of the things that didn’t go so well in Jamaica and doing other things better than we did in Jamaica. I think we’re all ready. We had a very nice crowd yesterday at the public training session cheering on the guys and giving them a good feeling. I think it’s going to be a wonderful crowd and we want to show them that we’ll take care of things tomorrow night.”

On the status of defender Steve Cherundolo (who was held out of Friday’s loss with an injury):
“Steve is ready to go tomorrow.”

On feeling pressure to get a positive result:
“Pressure is always there in professional sports. We wanted to get points in Jamaica and be in a better position than we are right now. Winning tomorrow night, which is our goal and which we are focused on very strongly, puts us back in pole position in that group. Pressure and expectations is just part of the professional environment. That’s no problem.”

On addressing the team’s inability to use the width of the field on Friday:
“That’s what we addressed already at halftime in Jamaica. We talked about that. I think when the players watch the game you see those things. I think that’s an area where we can do much better. What we discussed in Jamaica after the game became clear when you watch it again on tape. Our passing game was not good enough, not clean enough. Every time we passed the ball around, we kept possession. At the end of the day, we started to create something. There are a couple obvious bullet points and we have to do them much better.”

On if Carlos Bocanegra will return to the lineup with Clarence Goodson suspended:
“Carlos will be back tomorrow and he’ll be our captain. He totally understood our decision that had to do with the last couple of weeks and the Mexico game where we tried out new things. We were very pleased with what we have seen in Mexico. He’s back in the team and Steve (Cherundolo) is back in the team. They are ready and they are very hungry for that game.”

On if the team missed Bocanegra’s leadership on Friday:
“His leadership is there if he’s on the field a little bit more than if he’s off the field. The experienced guys, once they’re here in that group, they are who they are. Carlos is a very important piece of the whole puzzle. Going back to Friday, it was not a tactical discussion that we had, we gave away cheap free kicks and lost the game based on that so you can’t blame the back line for it. You can’t blame tactical reasons. You were not sharp enough there to avoid those free kicks and you paid the price for it. Clarence played a solid game, but Clarence isn’t here (suspended for Tuesday’s match). He had a couple more training sessions and now Carlos is back.”

On if Columbus is the perfect setting for Tuesday’s match:
“I think it is. That’s why we chose Columbus and chose Kansas City for the Guatemala game. We know where the crowds are that give total support to their team. We saw that yesterday in the training session. We had 4,000 people come out and a lot of kids and everybody was happy to see these guys train. It gives us a sense that there’s going to be big support for us, which is helpful. The players can’t wait to get out on the field.”

On the strategies behind handling free kicks:
“You don’t want to give them away, that’s step one. Step two is a little bit more reorganization in the wall. Every time you analyze a free kick, you read the wall and know who jumps up how, who has good body tension and has hunger to block the shot, you see people jump up and not jumping up. You can have a whole half-an-hour discussion about a wall. There are a couple of elements that go into that and the players see that again. We tell them what we see. You can always improve a couple of things on those occasions.”

On if the second games in the qualifying campaign allow for a better chance to win with more time for preparation:
“Every day definitely helps us as a group to understand each other better on and off the field and develop special chemistry. That’s the big challenge for a national team program, getting them for a limited amount of days before they head back to their club teams where they spend the majority of their time. Every day helps. You want to do well in the first game. We didn’t do well in the first game so we tried to learn from that. We analyze it, we discuss it and we’ll bounce back tomorrow night. It’s a constant learning curve, a developing curve for a team that wants to get stronger toward 2014 with that limited amount of time. For us, it becomes important to stay connected with these guys once they’re at their club teams and communicate with them and their coaches because their coaches see them on a daily basis. It’s just normal for us in a national team environment.”

On if there is a link between losing possession and allowing free kicks:
“There’s a link in everything. We gave away far too many balls. We tried to make the game complicated. We tried to play balls into the forwards that were far too complicated instead of just keeping the ball and playing simple, moving the ball around until things open up. We talked about the width of the field and not using that enough. There’s a link to everything. We hope we can avoid those (negatives) tomorrow night and do a much better job.”

On if there was anything surprising about Jamaica’s play?
“We had a lot of respect for the Jamaican team and players. It’s a strong team. There was nothing that surprised us. They executed those free kicks perfectly. They were hungry and they were very physical and that gave them the edge.”

On other facets that the U.S. must improve in Tuesday’s match:
“We have to step it up in terms of aggression, in terms of physicality, in terms of one-on-one battles.”

On the play of U.S. forward Jozy Altidore during Friday’s loss:
“I think we already talked about Michael (Bradley) not being here and having the situation as it is because we have to accept it. We will never have the ideal scenario all the time. There will always be injuries, suspensions or whatever. Jozy had a tough game. If it’s on his side or if it’s on the other side getting balls from behind, getting balls into space, getting balls that he could use to score goals. That wasn’t the way we wanted to see it, but it’s just the way it was. We just try to analyze it and make it better for next time.”

U.S. midfielder CLINT DEMPSEY
On how he feels after Friday and his level of match fitness:
“I feel better. It helped me a lot and gave me more confidence. It’s always good to get back on the score sheet. Also, it gets a better level of fitness and you’re able to assess the speed of what it’s like playing in a game. I think I benefitted a lot from that and I’m excited about the challenge of Tuesday.”

On the significance of playing on the 11th anniversary of 9/11:
“It’s something that’s special. It showed that our country has a lot of character and was able to bounce back from that type of situation. I think people draw strength from that. Us as players and us as a country, we always remember that and the impact it had on everybody’s life. Everybody remembers where they were on that day. You can use it as a positive, as motivation to stay strong and keep fighting. We’re excited about the challenge of Tuesday and I think everybody is prepared to do everything they can to try and get this win.”

On how the absence of Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley affect the team:
“They’re players that do have a lot of experience and they come up big in games for you. You miss them, but this team has a lot of character and you have to grind out results no matter if you have your best team or not. During World Cup Qualifiers or any type of major competition, you’re not always going to have your ideal situation of everybody being healthy. You have to go through the rollercoaster and it’s no different in years’ past. It was difficult getting points on the road, but we were able to get important results at home to put us back in good position. That’ll be no different if we can get the job done on Tuesday.”

On being more involved in possession:
“I think just keep moving and trying to find those gaps and pockets and trying to create better angles to get access to the ball. Also, as a team we have to be more patient and not try to make the killer pass all the time and get past their first line of pressure. I think things will open up from there. We have to be a little more sharp on the ball when we do get it. I think it’ll help being on a better field because you don’t have to take as many touches to try and control the ball. We’ll be able to let the ball do a lot of work for us. As opposed to taking too many touches and getting caught on the ball and getting ourselves into tackles and play that isn’t what we’re capable of. We know that we can play at a better level.”

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Klinsmann: "We’re All Ready"
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