Responding to Jurgen Klinsmann’s criticism of his US side’s fitness in last week’s 3-2 defeat to Chile, Tottenham Hotspur right-back DeAndre Yedlin has admitted to Sirius XM FC that there is some truth to his head coach’s comments.
The US held a 2-1 lead in Rancagua through the hour before Klinsmann watched as Chile took advantage of his tiring side, with former Liverpool winger Mark Gonzalez scoring in the 66th and 75th minutes to seal the South Americans the win.
That drop-off has shown up in a series of recent matches, with the team conceding late goals in October draws with Ecuador and Honduras, as well as November defeats to Colombia and Ireland, and Klinsmann believes it points to the evolution of the US as a soccer nation.
“It's difficult for me now to get them out of vacation. Some of them played their last game in October. In October!” he told MLSSoccer.com. “I want to help them get back into shape, get back into rhythm, but, oh, by the way, we're going to play [two friendlies]. So some learned over time and prepared themselves really well, and some don't have that knowledge yet.
“They've got all the material. They should have done that [work] twice a day, but reality is still different. Reality is, education-wise, we are not there yet, that they understand, 'Oh, I've got to do this, I've got to do that.' It's a lot to discuss. It's fine. It's just where we are right now, and we want to keep improving.”
One of those who the comments seemed to be directed at was Yedlin, whose tiring performance in Chile came in for considerable criticism from fans and the media alike.
Having made his permanent move to Tottenham last month, the promising defender completed one 60-minute outing for the Under-21s during his first few weeks at the club before being allowed to join the US squad for their first training camp of 2015, in order to help get his match fitness up.
While he showed some bright moments in the opening stages, defensive lapses in a laboured second-half saw him responsible for both of Gonzalez’s goals, and he has no problem with Klinsmann pointing that out.
“I’d rather have it straight from the coach,” he said. “Jurgen has a lot of experience, has seen a lot of different players, been on a lot of different teams and coached at the highest level.
“We have to respect what he’s saying. Even if we may not agree with it, there’s definitely some truth to it.
“I think we just need to work towards what he wants from us.”
The US take in their final game of the training camp against Panama this weekend at the StubHub Center in LA, and Yedlin believes the competitive minutes will serve him well for when he heads back to White Hart Lane to battle for a first-team spot.
“You can do all the running you want in practise, and of course that helps, but it’s nothing like actual game fitness,” he added.
“It’s very important for me to get game time now so it was very smart from both sides for me to come into this camp.”