Jurgen Klinsmann says critics calling for his firing 'don't understand soccer'
United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann says critics calling for him to be fired in the wake of two World Cup qualifying defeats "don't understand soccer or the team."
Klinsmann said he was not worried about losing his position in an interview with the The New York Times, who cited sources as saying U.S. Soccer could decide the coach's future as soon as this week.
"I'm not afraid," Klinsmann said. "What you need to do is stick to the facts. Soccer is emotional, and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport. I still believe we will get the points we need to qualify, and I am even confident we could win the group."
The U.S. is at the bottom of the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying after losing the first two of 10 games, 2-1 at home to Mexico and 4-0 away to Costa Rica.
But Klinsmann, who earlier on Sunday told Reuters he was "1,000 percent certain" the U.S. would still qualify for the World Cup in Russia in 2018, dismissed the criticism that has come after this month's results.
"The fact is, we lost two games," Klinsmann told the Times. "There is a lot of talk from people who don't understand soccer or the team."
Klinsmann denied that his players had given up on him despite the lopsided defeat at Costa Rica, where the U.S. has always struggled to perform.
"There was nobody giving up at that time," Klinsmann said. "That was a normal emotional situation when things go wrong. When they get the second goal there, it was like a knock in your neck.
"I played those games many, many times. The whole stadium goes bananas. It's totally human to put your head down for a second. And then they counter us for two more.
"Those games will always happen. We just couldn't stop it, but the players did not stop trying."
Klinsmann looked toward the larger picture and stressed that he and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, with whom the Times reported the coach would meet in the coming days, had an understanding about long-term goals.
"I always made it clear to Sunil, if you really want to move up to the top 15 in the world, you need to have consistency in what you're doing," Klinsmann said. "If you react emotionally, you will become a roller coaster."
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