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Klinsmann criticizes USMNT youth talent pool, expecting much more maturity

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Ahead of the Copa America Centenario, Jurgen Klinsmann decided to make it clear to the young talent in the United States Men’s National Team that in his eyes, the collective unit needs to seriously improve.

There have been many young players making a push for a spot in the starting squad, but clearly the U.S. manager is looking for much, much more.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Klinsmann was asked how the younger talent in the U.S. pool was doing. “We hope that some would have done a lot better, we hope that some of the younger ones would have made stronger players in their club teams,” Klinsmann said. “We have too many talents sitting on benches in every league. They are sitting on benches in Mexico, in European leagues, in MLS teams. A lot of our younger players struggle to understand that it takes a lot more work and determination and aggressiveness to really make it to become a consistent, driven professional.”

The German has long driven home the mantra that club performances translate directly to national team performance, and that playing time is a big factor in that.

“That talent is not there yet when it comes to the national team, when it gets to big tournaments, when it gets serious,” he said. “Whatever path they took the last two years, we’ve got to make it clear to them you’ve got to do more. You’ve got to live differently, got to sleep differently, feed yourself differently. You’ve got to train longer, train extra sessions. You’ve got to become physically stronger, got to be nastier in training sessions. You’ve got to become a man.”

Later, Klinsmann was specifically asked about 19-year-old Arsenal product Gedion Zelalem. The Berlin-born midfielder had been in the USMNT picture, touted as a major young talent, but has been heard from little since making a loan move to Rangers. “We can tell that this kid has the talent to go very far,” Klinsmann said. “But this is just the first question. Now there are 10 more questions. Is he strong enough? Is he explosive enough? is he aware enough of whatever happens around him? What about his vision? What about his lifestyle? There are so many questions. In the next couple of years we see if the specific talent will break through. He has to go through that process.”

Clearly, the rise of 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, the maturation of DeAndre Yedlin, and the growth of Jordan Morris – left off the Copa America squad after his move to Seattle Sounders – hasn’t been enough to satisfy Klinsmann.

Finally, Klinsmann was asked about the reliance on players over 30 such as Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones, the U.S. manager continued to beat the drum. “Too many of the young players are stagnant at the moment or losing a year or two. That worries us. If it’s Rubio Rubin, or Julian Green still on the second team, or Emerson Hyndman. The years where we lose a lot of our future are between 18 and 22. This is the discussion probably Bruce Arena had before, Bob Bradley had before and Bora Milotunovic had before. How can we get so many young boys who are driven to take their careers in their own hands and [not] to just trust their talent?”

LIVE, UCL last 16: Atletico v. Liverpool; Dortmund v. PSG

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and Atletico Madrid host Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain head to Borussia Dortmund in what should be two epic battles.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool are the first Premier League club to get going as Jurgen Klopp locks horns with Diego Simeone’s Atleti, who are a very dangerous team to play and they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. With Sadio Mane back fit, he could be the difference for Liverpool as the runaway Premier League leaders return to the stadium where they win their sixth European title at the end of last season. Madrid holds fond memories for Klopp’s boys. Atletico Madrid are struggling along in La Liga but they have played the underdog role very well in recent seasons and this encounter will be full throttle from the start.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain in the other UCL last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday and that should be a cracking game between two very evenly-matched teams as former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel takes PSG to the Westfalenstadion. Kylian Mbappe v. Jadon Sancho equals chef’s kiss.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below is the full schedule for the two UCL last 16 first leg games on Tuesday, with bothgames kicking off at 3 p.m. ET. You can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.


Tuesday Champions League action

Atletico Madrid v. Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund v. Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League score predictions: Round of 16

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and two of the four Premier League clubs are in action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the two finalists from last season, are first up and both will be happy enough with their draws in the last 16.

That said, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool know that Diego Simeone’s Atleti are a very dangerous team to play as they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. As for Spurs and Jose Mourinho, the news that Heung-min Son has broken his arm and could be out for the rest of the season is a huge blow but they host an inconsistent RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain and Atalanta host Valencia in the other last 16 ties this week and both should be cracking encounters between two very evenly-matched teams.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below we predict the scores for the UCL round of 16 games taking place over the next two days. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 PSG

Wednesday
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 RB Leipzig
Atalanta 2-1 Valencia

Lampard issues Chelsea injury update; Pulisic remains out

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard issued a lengthy injury update after their 2-0 defeat against Man United and USMNT fans will not be happy to hear that Christian Pulisic remains out.

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Ahead of Chelsea’s pivotal top four clash at home against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard could be without as many as five key players.

Andreas Christensen broke his nose and came off at half time against United, while N’Golo Kante was subbed off early after yet another leg injury for the French superstar.

“Callum, no. Pulisic, no. N’Golo, no, from that today. Tammy is a maybe. It is not going our way with injuries at the moment but the players who come in they have to show that. That is what the squad is there for. It is frustrating,” Lampard told Chelsea TV when asked about availability for Saturday.

Lampard then gave an extra update on Kante, who walked through the mixed zone after the game looking okay and told the French journalists who were assembled that it wasn’t too bad.

“It is an adductor injury,” Lampard confirmed. “We will have to assess it and scan it. It doesn’t look great. It is on the same leg [as he injured before].”

With four wins in their last 14 Premier League games Chelsea are not in good form and are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tottenham ahead of their game this weekend.

They also have a nasty habit of dominating matches but are failing to put multiple chances away and with these injuries piling up it certainly makes Chelsea’s decision to not spend in the January window to strengthen their squad, especially in terms of strikers, very surprising.

With Bayern Munich coming up in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week, Lampard will hope Chelsea’s luck turns and plenty of players return from injury.

FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.