Klinsmann wants US to become nasty boys
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants his players to become nasty boys before next week's start of 2014 World Cup qualifying and he doesn't mind them kicking some shins and stepping on a few toes to do it.
"We need to get an edge, more nastier," Klinsmann said. "We're still too naive. We have to hurt people, step on their toes a little bit."
Klinsmann, a former German coach and star player, said the Americans gave Brazil too much respect at the start of their friendly on Wednesday and paid the price in a 4-1 loss to the five-time World Cup champions.
"In the first 20 minutes, there was an edge too much respect," Klinsmann said. "Then we got into the flow of the game and played well against one of the best teams in the world.
"We proved to them we can play with them. We have to get closer to people. We still aren't scoring enough goals. We have to be more aggressive."
Santos striker Neymar scored on a penalty and set up two other goals with passes for a young Brazilian side looking toward the London Olympics and a host role at the 2014 World Cup.
The Americans, now 1-16 all-time against Brazil, visit Canada on Sunday for a final tuneup match before starting their 18-month qualifying effort for the 2014 World Cup against Antigua and Barbuda at Tampa, Florida, on June 8.
Klinsmann admits he has no magic wand for turning naive players into nasty players, but he wants to build it inside his players, hopefully as they grow in confidence on the road to Brazil in two years.
"It's in the nature of our game. It's something that comes out of their personalities," Klinsmann said of the US lack of nastiness.
"It has got to do with belief in their capabilities. It needs to be developed. How? I don't know yet."
One example he cited was in talking to the referee after a call against the team, citing FC Barcelona's club side as one to emulate.
"You have to make your case better to the referees. We need to be stronger to make our case," Klinsmann said. "(FC Barcelona), they come 10 guys to the referee. He doesn't know which one to give the yellow card."
But Klinsmann does know that if the Americans hope to become a true World Cup contender against such formidable sides as Brazil and Spain, "for us it's about how do we get closer to those teams."
One player Klinsmann cites as nasty enough in Herculez Gomez, the striker who netted the lone US goal against Brazil in the 45th minute.
"We've found a striker who is very mobile in Herculez, one who is nasty," Klinsmann said. "Herculez came to camp and showed very strong performances. He deserved the start."
US forward Landon Donovan, who has yet to play alongside Fulham striker Clint Dempsey under Klinsmann, saw some positives within the Brazil defeat.
"It's a little hard to say you're relatively satisfied after losing 4-1 but, all things considered, we played OK," Donovan said. "The way we played, the chances we created -- not many teams create that many chances against Brazil."
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