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Klinsmann’s latest insults prove he will never respect USMNT fans

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While U.S. Soccer ponders head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s fate, one would imagine the man would have a little humility while his current employment hangs in the balance.

Instead, he doubled down on an exhausting narrative that provides reason enough to make a change.

Klinsmann has never respected U.S. fans. No, he has repeatedly dismissed the opinions of the fans and media as inexperienced, foolish, and naive. He’s continually reiterated that “we have a ways to go” and repeatedly speaks about “educating the country” as a required part of the growth of the national team.

[ UPDATE: Klinsmann fired as USMNT head coach, Technical Director ]

So after two embarrassing losses to begin CONCACAF’s final round of 2018 World Cup qualification, his job under heavier scrutiny than ever before, he continued to beat the same dead horse he has for years.

“The fact is, we lost two games,” Klinsmann told Sam Borden of the New York Times Sunday evening. “There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.”

[ RELATED: Klinsmann “not afraid” of job speculation ]

These “people” Klinsmann is referring to include a host of intelligent, well respected journalists across the country who have publicly called for change following the 4-0 drubbing to Costa Rica. Those “people” also include a wide berth of fans from various backgrounds, many of whom have followed the national team pridefully and astutely long before Klinsmann took charge.

It’s true that soccer in the United States has seen a recent popularity boom, with plenty of new fans who are beginning to seek out the sport and learning its intricacies. What’s not true is that those who have been here all along – and even those recently aboard – are somehow doing it wrong. As with any sport, there are a wide spectrum of mindsets across the US fan demographic. Klinsmann continues to blanketly dismiss the opinions of this country’s masses as stupid and irrelevant, when in fact they are the most important of all.

“I’m not afraid,” Klinsmann told the New York Times. “What you need to do is stick to the facts. Soccer is emotional and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport.”

[ MORE: Crazy comeback sees #1 Maryland fall in NCAA Tournament ]

If the 52-year-old German wishes to degrade those with dissenting opinions by dismissing them as “emotional” and rash, we shall indeed “stick to the facts.” The facts are, Klinsmann managed the United States to its worse start to a Hex ever. The facts are, Klinsmann managed his team to its first home defeat in World Cup qualification in 11 years at the country’s most fortified soccer stronghold. The facts are, Klinsmann’s United States embarrassed itself in last year’s Gold Cup, owning the worst finish for the country ever in the competition. The facts are, the U-23 team has missed the last two Olympics under his watch. The facts are, the United States coughed up qualification for the only Confederations Cup of his tenure. If Klinsmann wishes the fans “stick to the facts,” well, the facts are actually quite damning. The undeniable fact is, based solely on paper, the United States has regressed during his time in charge, and both fans and media are fully capable of recognizing that stark reality.

It’s time the United States gets rid of the man who will never respect U.S. fans, and time they hired one who understands them, and will garner motivation for his professional success not from personal gain or for written legacies, but from those whom the entire process boils down to. Club pride can be earned through performances on the field, but managing a national team requires a specific identification with those who feel drawn to the flag and the crest of their home nation. Klinsmann not only cannot identify with the United States fans, but he can’t even bring himself to respect them.

So while there are plenty of on-field reasons to question his abilities – which we apparently aren’t qualified to discuss based solely on our national allegiances – add one more tick mark to his rapidly growing list of transgressions. A man who does not appreciate the fans whom he has been charged to lead is in fact no leader at all.

Arsenal want season completed ‘to maintain integrity’ of PL

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Arsenal remain in support of finishing the 2019-20 season in order to “to maintain the integrity” of the competition, despite Friday’s unanimous vote that the Premier League cannot resume at the start of May as previously hoped due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: UEFA threatens Belgian league with European expulsion ]

The Gunners, who currently sit ninth in the PL table with 10 games left to play (one more than the majority of clubs around them), were five points back of fifth-place Manchester United for qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League thanks to Manchester City’s two-year European ban.

In a statement released on Friday, Arsenal reiterated their stance that the current season should be played to completion rather than called to completion at things stand or abandoned altogether.

We are in full support of the objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches from the 2019-20 season to be played, in order to maintain the integrity of each competition.

We also fully agree with the principle that any return to action will only be with the full backing of government and when medical guidance allows.

The restart date is under constant review as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops and we continue to work together with all stakeholders through this very challenging time

Premier League rivalries: The Merseyside derby

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While the Merseyside derby has been dominated by one side of late, that has not detracted from the spectacle of the most historic matchup in English top flight history.

Uninterrupted in top flight play since 1962/63, the two sides are situated less than a mile apart, with the proximity feeding an already intense matchup.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Despite the incredibly close geographic proximity, the derby is sometimes known as the “Friendly Derby” as there are often families with split allegiances. Still, the matchup has the most red cards in Premier League history with 21, including 17 of those in the especially heated timeframe between 1997 and 2008.

Unfortunately for Everton, the rivalry has become one-sided over the past decade, with the Toffees failing to win since October of 2010. Liverpool has won 11 of the 21 games, with the other 10 ending in a draw. That has somewhat deescalated the vicious nature of the matchup, especially since Liverpool has gone on to become one of the most formidable sides in Europe over the past few years while Everton continues to challenge for a top-half place in the league.

Still, the 228 all-time matches between the clubs continues to fuel one of the great matchups in the English domestic landscape, and sooner or later this rivalry will regain its venom to bring the bite back to this matchup.

Bayern Munich signs coach Flick as permanent boss

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Bayern Munich has locked down interim head coach Hansi Flick as permanent boss, signing the 55-year-old on through the summer of 2023, the club announced on Friday.

Flick took over on an interim basis for Niko Kovac when the Croatian was let go in early November with the club fourth in the Bundesliga table. He impressed during his time as interim manager, leading the club back to the top of the table thanks in large part to a current 11-match league unbeaten run that features 10 wins and a draw.

That streak includes a 0-0 draw with then-second placed RB Leipzig that kept Bayern atop the table, plus a dominant 5-0 win over then-fifth placed Schalke. Successive 2-1 defeats to Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen are the only real blemishes on his record in charge so far, coming way back in late November and early December.

“I’m looking forward to taking on the upcoming tasks along with my staff and the team,” Flick said in the official team release. “The talks with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidžić were very good and in a spirit of good faith. We’ve determined the direction for the upcoming years. I’m sure we can achieve a lot together.”

Flick has also kept the club’s pristine Champions League record alive this season, with wins over Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham, and Chelsea by a combined 12-1 scoreline. The 3-0 first-leg win over Chelsea in the Round of 16 has the club primed to reach the quarterfinal round should the competition eventually resume.

Speaking to Flick’s adaptability, he also kept the club rolling in the recent absence of in-form striker Robert Lewandowski, working 6-0 and 2-0 wins over Hoffenheim and Augsburg without his lead frontman who began a long absence with a broken tibia.

“Bayern are very satisfied with Hansi Flick’s work,” said Bayern’s chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in the release. “The team has had a very good development under him, plays attractive football which is reflected in results. We are the only club still competing in all three competitions.”

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic added, “Hansi and I know in which direction we want to develop the team. We believe that Hansi is also the right head coach for the current time.”

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Montiel to Palace or West Ham, Coutinho to depart Barcelona

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River Plate is one of many clubs that could use this coming transfer window to earn a payday after taking losses in the coronavirus shutdown, and that could come at the benefit of one Premier League club.

West Ham is apparently one of a few teams after Argentine international Gonzalo Montiel who could fetch River Plate somewhere in the vicinity of $24 million. The right-back is a River Plate youth product who established himself as a regular for the club at just 20 years old and has spent the last three seasons earning significant minutes. Now 23, Montiel is a strong passer who can create for teammates with long-range deliveries.

Argentine publication Ole mentions that Spanish side Valencia has shown interest of late, but also states that West Ham made contact in January but was turned down by River Plate and the Hammers could be suitors again once the next window arrives. Montiel was also linked with Crystal Palace by Goal back in late March, while Argentine newspaper El Intransigente linked the player with Southampton. Palace and Saints both make sense as they are both looking to replace big-name departures of late, with Crystal Palace still yet to truly replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka while Southampton has not seen much from those brought in to take over for Cedric Soares.

Barcelona is reportedly ready to lower its asking price on Philippe Coutinho, with a bid of $86 million potentially workable for the Catalan club, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

Coutinho was extremely poor in his season-and-a-half at Barcelona, and while the Brazilian playmaker had upped his game on loan at Bayern Munich before the coronavirus shutdown, the purchase price on his loan deal is a whopping $130 million, which Bayern Munich is not willing to pay.

Barcelona is desperately in need of funds to support its summer business, with Lautaro Martinez and Neymar both heavily linked with the La Liga giants. It’s highly unlikely that both will be possible to acquire given both the team’s business of late and the coronavirus shutdown causing financial strain on clubs all over the world, and a significant sale may even be needed to get one of them over the line. Coutinho provides such a possibility, but with Barcelona not exactly in a position of strength given Coutinho’s lack of recent star power and the club’s need to sell, dropping the asking price is a highly likely eventuality.

The Evening Standard report mentions that Barcelona believes the Premier League is the “most likely possibility” for a Coutinho suitor given the league’s memories of his incredible spell at Liverpool just a few years ago.

Speaking of the Premier League, Manchester United was reportedly close to securing a marquee striker last summer before eventually sticking with Marcus Rashford up front. Speaking to Italian print publication Tuttosport on Wednesday, Romelu Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello said that the Belgian big man almost went to Juventus on a swap deal before Manchester United backed out of the transfer negotiations due to Dybala’s high wage demand. Eventually, Lukaku departed for Inter Milan where he settled in quickly and has contributed to a furious title challenge that just lost steam before the coronavirus shutdown.

Pastorello simply responded “It’s true” when asked if Dybala had been a focal point of Manchester United negotiations, but hedged his answer with, “Romelu, however, had always hoped to go to Inter because he was impressed by the affection of the Inter fans.”