U.S. men’s national team manager Bruce Arena has praised the man he replaced late last year, Jurgen Klinsmann. The former Germany star, who led the USMNT for five years, was fired after the team’s horrific start to the hexagonal round of CONCACAF’s World Cup Qualifying in November, which saw the team lose at home to Mexico 2-1 and at Costa Rica 4-0. Those results left the U.S. in last place in qualifying, which Arena will try to fix when the competition resumes in March.
But even with the poor results, which also include the shocking loss to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals in 2015, Arena still credited Klinsmann and also former coach Bob Bradley for what they did during their time coaching the national team.
“Everyone has their way of doing things. I think the people that followed me after 2006 — Bob Bradley and Jurgen — they’ve done a very good job of growing the program,” Arena told ESPN FC.
Neither coach was able to get the U.S. as far in the World Cup as Arena did, which was the quarterfinals in 2002, and Klinsmann finished with the second-highest winning percentage by any U.S. coach with 63.8 percent, trailing Arena’s 65.8 percent.
It’s not surprising to see Arena credit Klinsmann, even if his sentiment towards Klinsmann is quite the opposite to that of many USMNT fans who were calling for his firing since 2015.
Sure Klinsmann didn’t follow through on his plan to make the USMNT into an attractive, attack-minded squad but he did guide the team to a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Copa America, which is quite the accomplishment, just one that was countered by certain failures.
In the end, it’s Arena’s job now for the second time, and he did what any coach would — thanked and applauded those who came immediately before him, which should surprise nobody.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Bruce Arena says Jurgen Klinsmann did a ‘very good job’ as USMNT coach