DENVER - For Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States men's national team, any press is good press. Follow MIKE SLANE on Twitter
Ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the U.S. coach addressed a recent investigative report by the Sporting News that quoted several anonymous players voicing their frustration with his style and coaching acumen.
"I don't have any problems with that," Klinsmann said. "Obviously, I prefer if anyone has any type of problem with me that they will talk to me about it rather than these so-called anonymous quotes that you don't know who actually said it."
Klinsmann went on to say that questioning the coach's decisions is common in the sport and shows that there's a growing interest the success of the national team program.
"It's just part of our environment," he added. "I think people should be able to say how they feel and what they believe. I think it's a great sign that all the debate is going on in soccer now in this country. It shows you that people care."
Klinsmann's tactics had been brought into question after the U.S. struggled at times during the semifinal stage of qualifying followed by a loss against Honduras in the Hexagonal opener. The team appears to be lacking chemistry as Klinsmann has used 23 different lineups in his 23 games in charge.
The Sporting News report was released shortly after Klinsmann made one of his most controversial decisions to date by leaving captain Carlos Bocanegra off the latest roster. Klinsmann instead will use a very inexperienced back line against Costa Rica and Mexico in place of Bocanegra, who is a healthy scratch.
"At the end of the day I've got to decide which 23 will go down to Brazil (for the World Cup)," Klinsmann said. "Which 23 are the hungriest, most dedicated and best players we have."
Clint Dempsey will captain the team over the next two games for only the second time in his international career. The Tottenham forward has yet to address his teammates regarding the anonymous quotes, and it sounds like he's ready to put the controversy in the rear-view mirror.
"The most important thing is the game," Dempsey said. "I'm focusing on that match and making sure we get the three points, making sure we put ourselves in a good position in the table and gain confidence from a good result so that we can go on a good run of form."
Last year, Klinsmann led the Americans to a program-best 9-2-3 record, including a win over Mexico at the Estadio Azteca. However, it is believed that poor results against Costa Rica and Mexico could lead to the U.S. team looking for a new coach.
"The pressure is always there, that's what you live with," Klinsmann said. "The more expectations, the more pressure is there. That means people care about it, and I think that's great."
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