They’ve got a lot to learn. They’ve got lots of good coaching principles. You’ve got to keep them consistent, and you’ve got to put them into practice. You’ve got to take away and teach the mistakes and give them the benefit of the doubt. Because if you don’t do that and you start to get them right, in the end, it’s a lot easier, not to mention a whole lot more useful than you think. And that’s how you help a team.
And what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this?
You know, at the last World Cup I wasn’t really worried, because it’s the tournament. There aren’t many of them, so there’s no pressure. You’re not going to be asked a lot of questions. That was the biggest lesson: What are we supposed to learn from this? I got asked a lot about the Americans, because they were like us, but also because they’re great. It was really fascinating to watch the team. They were so good. The coaches had been talking about it for years, but you never had the opportunity to really study them very closely.
What were some of those things you were looking at?
The American coaches weren’t interested in doing a training session. In other years, that would have been a disaster. We didn’t ask them about conditioning, and we didn’t ask them about game-day management or ball security or the things we’re used to seeing from other countries. But they were really good. They knew soccer inside out.
And in the way they played the game?
It was very different. Even if we weren’t all on the same page with tactics, we could communicate well enough and keep it at the same pace without getting lost. You know, there aren’t many coaches we like more than the Italians. They don’t have a lot of guys in the USMNT that are better coaches than them. But there is also a lot of other coaches, and even if you do really well, you can’t expect them to take you to a World Cup win. But some teams in the States, you can.
That’s interesting because Italy has very few players over-age 24. They’ve got about 20 on the 23-man roster.
How did Italy get there? What’s different about it compared to others?
They’ve got a great system. Even if you didn’t win the World Cup
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