Fulham and USA legend Brian McBride defends Jurgen Klinsmann's management

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker has come under criticism for his US national team's post-World Cup performances.

Fulham and USA legend Brian McBride has moved to defend US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann from recent criticism, stressing to ESPN FC that now should be the time for experimentation.

Appointed in the summer of 2011 to much fanfare, Klinsmann led the US to the 2013 Gold Cup title and sealed qualification for the 2014 World Cup with a first-place finish in CONCACAF, before seeing his contract extended until 2018 in November 2013.

His team managed to advance from the so-called “group of death” to the last-16 in Brazil before falling to Belgium but, despite a commendable showing, opinion on his leadership has since started to turn sour.

Since the summer’s tournament, the US have been outscored 12-1 in the second-half of their nine friendlies, with 11 of the 14 total goals conceded after the hour mark, while Klinsmann’s men have also conceded eight times in their last eight matches after the 80th-minute.

The German has blamed both a World Cup hangover and fitness issues in recent months for his side’s downturn in form, which is said to have caused friction in the camp, but fans and the media alike have instead pointed to tactical mistakes and poor squad management as the problem, with his critics now including former Under-20s boss Thomas Rongen.

However, McBride, who scored 30 goals in 95 appearances for the US between 1993 and 2006, insists that Klinsmann’s situation is no different that which his predecessors went through and believes things will start to come together once the team returns to competitive action in the summer’s Gold Cup.

“I think he is [doing a good job],” said the three-time World Cup veteran. “You go through this period right after a World Cup when you’re trying to put together a team that can grow but also make sure that you have time to focus on winning games.

“I look at this situation right now and it’s the same thing that Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena did. You’re trying to fill out your roster in case injuries happen.

“I really think he knows the players who are going to play a big role but there’s also going to be a surprise or two come the next World Cup and these friendlies are the best way to find out who can fit in there.”

Nevertheless, if the US flounder at the Gold Cup then one can guarantee that the pressure will start to pile on the former Tottenham Hotspur striker.

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