We've definitely tried to take the romance out of the game. You don't want to be thinking about playoffs and finals and the like. We want to do away with that, and put it down to your professionalism, ability and concentration all the things that we've done all season. Just try and make it another game.
They have ability. The players have quality. The hard part is putting everybody together. They have a problem doing that. They're obviously putting it together as a team now.
We had the chances to win the tie over the two games. In particular, we should have hit the net in Bermuda and that is what cost us in the second leg. Over the two legs I think we showed we were better than them without having our strongest side out there.
We aren't getting penalties for whatever reason. I thought it was a penalty myself.
He wasn't a problem for us at all. Every time you're training, he's there 100 percent. His attitude was spot on. He never got under our skin.
I think everyone settled down everybody's completely in tune with what is going on, and winning games builds confidence. But the biggest one is that we are playing for each other and that's huge.
He's really blessed with an ability in the box, ... It's something all guys who score goals have inside them. There are certain guys who just love to score goals, and he's one of them.
I thought he was going to run a half marathon after he scored. He took it well and everyone is pleased for him.
Well, obviously Pat's been out for five or six weeks, so he certainly had enough strength to get through it. But obviously some more training and some more games and he'll sharpen up, but the two of them did well. You can't complain. We scored in the last minute. I think, like the rest of us, as a team and as individuals we can all be better than we were tonight.
If we had won the game, we don't get points for it. This is a good reminder. It doesn't matter who you play against, you've got to do the right things. You've got to make decisions, pass the ball. If you don't, it doesn't happen. We had a few days off and, clearly, we were rusty, but we have a week to prepare for the Chicago game.
He was in and out at Los Angeles which is going to affect your confidence with the team. He's realizing what he's capable of.
It was a bad goal on Matt's part. But for 26 games he's been outstanding. We'll put this behind us and move on.
We need to do our thing. Clearly they have got some players that can hurt us so we need to defend the way we have been defending and give people little room to maneuver. When you are playing against a couple of strikers like Johnson and Wolff, unless you do that, they're going to give you trouble.
(The national team players) are exactly where we thought they would be. They've had good training time behind them, and have given everyone else a boost.
To be fair, they're not quite at their sharpest, but they're getting there. If they're performing the way they are now at not 100 percent, then they're really going to be turning some heads when they get there, no doubt.
The worst thing that can happen is for us to be out of the tie by the end of the first game. We need to get the result we are out to achieve and so we need to start by giving nothing away and then working our way into the game and getting forward. We want to keep as good a shape as we can at all times so we have to be talking and passing people on. We don't want players running all over the place, we want to stay with men. If we do that we'll be all right.
I think, as normal, it was a battle royal out there between us and D.C., because it always is. I think the truth of the matter is that we were fortunate to get the win. As far as the football we played we can play far better than we showed tonight. But, as usual, we showed that as far as guts and courage and passion, we have it in abundance. That's what won us the game.
I think we'd like to add a couple of faces. There are a couple teams making drastic changes, but that I think won't help us at all. We just want to make it tougher on the current players by adding some new ones. So, coming into the new season, people are looking over their shoulders, pushing harder to keep their place.
The first thing with Clint is that he likes to play the game. He trains exactly how he plays and goes hard every day, so on Saturdays he gets the benefit. He's always trying new things, new tricks. The biggest thing is to try and point him in the right direction about when and when not to use the tools he has.
(Ralston) is 100 percent fit but he's had one week's training since November. He'll be on the bench. He's not going to start the game -- he's not ready for that, but we may ease him back in. If the opportunity arises and we can get him some time then we will.
We're certainly in there in enough games. We can't get a break.
We have no interest in what anyone else does. We need 4 points in two games to clinch first place and that is all we are looking at.
We've scored all kinds of goals this year. We've scored some lovely goals passing and moving and some lovely individual play. And we've scored some scruffy goals.
In the first half, we were second best on everything. In the second half, we wanted to make sure we at least would stand in the corner and make it hard for them. And that's what happens when you don't give up.
You evolve as a player the older you get and the wiser you get. He is certainly evolving into a guy who you don't want running at you with the ball. That's the simplest way of putting it. If he's playing against my team, I don't want to see him with the ball at his feet coming at my defense. He's always looking for the ball, always looking for the mistake.
We want to win them. It's really simple. We want to start out strong, be solid, so it's probably those three in that order. We know (we'll be on the road) before we start. It would be easy to make that an excuse but we can't do that. We have to show the other team, our fans and ourselves that, wherever we play, we can get the job done.
It is great that we are able to play Pepe, even though we lose Danny. They play the game slightly differently. Pepe gives us good possession and he will calm things down.
I certainly hope it gave him a shake and made him realize what's important. He's come back and he's looked as though that's exactly what he's done. He's taken it on board for what it was and he's back to what he was.
We need to work on keeping the ball more. Physically we are in good shape, and three more weeks will only improve that further.
It feels like a loss. In the first half we should have been out of sight, I thought we were excellent. That's as good a first half as we've played away from home since I've been here. We cut them up at will. The possession was excellent, we created chances and gave them all kinds of problems but we couldn't finish them off. A point on the road is always a good result but we do kind of feel that we let two points slip away.
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