Training Quotes CLBvMIN
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Training Quotes | #CLBvMIN

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On his thoughts of the first three games of the MLS is Back Tournament…
“I think we got progressively better, still not where we’d like to be. But like I’ve said, because of the number we’ve had to work with, normally in preseason we do six to eight games before the opening game of the season, this will be our fourth 11 v 11 so pleased with attitude of the players. It’s been a four month break. Some of the teams have had chances to have intra-squad scrimmages, some of them have got second teams, etc. so for this group to do what they’ve done is excellent. Before the season started, you’ve heard me say a million times you work on two points a game, and here we are with 11. I’m happy with the start that we’ve had and now I think we’ve played ourselves into a little bit of form. We’ve got a difficult opponent in Columbus [Crew], a well-coached team, they’ve got good players, spent a lot of money on bringing in good players in this off season and that’s shown so far. We know it’s going to be tough but I also know that if we play like we can, we can win the game.”

On the defensive mentality of the entire team this season…
“That honesty we’ve got within the group…we’ve got some clips of Luis Amarilla and Aaron Schoenfeld running 70 yards because people are out of position from a set piece in getting back, so the attitude of the group has been fantastic. Have we played as well as we’d like? Maybe not but I can’t fault this group after four months off and we’ve played our fourth or fifth 11 v 11. I’m delighted with the group, delighted with the start we’ve made and now we have to go and try and make it one better on Tuesday night.”

On what challenges Columbus presents as a unit…
“They’ve got good players, as you know and a lot of them players, [Lucas] Zelerayan they paid a lot of money for and I actually think [Darlington] Nagbe is the best in his position now in the league.  They’ve got quality all over the field; internationals, well-drilled unit, obviously well-motivated, full of confidence at this moment in time. It’s going to be tough but I know Caleb [Porter] well enough to know that we’ll be prepared for the game.”

 

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER MICHAEL BOXALL

On how the team has progressed out of the group stage…
“We weren’t at our finest to start the group and I think we slowly found our feet throughout the games and I think if we bring the defensively mentality that we had in the first two [games], we’re very stubborn and hard to break down. We got a little bit sloppy with turnovers in the third game but I think we looked a lot better going forward so if we bring it all together we’re alright for Tuesday night.”

On how Jose Aja has played filling in for 2019 Defender of the Year Ike Opara…
“I think he’s done outstanding. He’s really played his role and as a centerback partner, you need to have that communication and familiarity and we obviously haven’t had that but he’s come in, slotted in seamlessly and it helps having quality players around us also, obviously Tyler [Miller] Ozzie [Alonso] and our two fullback [Chase Gasper, Romain Metanire] have been incredible so far.”

On seeing the entire team defend as a whole, not just the back four…
“It makes a world of difference. When you see the front two whose job isn’t necessarily to [defend], when they are doing that, it give you the extra boost to keep going when it’s bloody humid and really hot, even at midnight. The energy, especially with the whole squad when they come off the bench as well, we’ve really pushed on in each game in the last 15 minutes.

On preparing against a good Columbus Crew team…
“Obviously they have a distinct system that we’ll be looking at in the next 48 hours that we can look to find ways to disrupt them and once we do that, we’ve got threats up front where we’ve been able to expose pretty much every team throughout this league.”

 

MINNESOTA UNITED GOALKEEPER TYLER MILLER

On his thoughts of the team’s overall performance throughout the Group Stage…
“As the games kind of went on, we really grew into it. It’s difficult, first games in four months obviously, so as each game progressed, I felt we got better and better. In the last game against Colorado, I think we played pretty good football and hopefully take that and lead into Columbus [Crew].”

On developing a relationship with a new defense through five games…
“It’s always going to be difficult when you get new players playing any position on the field but, especially in the back four, it requires a lot of communication which I think has been good over the course of these three games. There’s things we can continue to improve on, so we’ll look at it in film and hopefully versus Columbus we have a solid performance, which I think is going to be key for us in winning that game.”

On preparing against a good Columbus Crew team…
“We obviously know they’re a strong team, they always have been. They have a really dynamic, good midfielder – good midfield and good attack so we know that we’re going to have to be cautious there but I think there is going to be opportunities for us to counter and opportunities for us to get chances, which in a one-off game, you never really know. It’s all about who shows up in that game that really will advance.”

On leading the counter with good distribution from the box…
“That’s something I really pride myself on, being able to distribute the ball well. I think there’s times when you need to read the game, especially in this heat, late at night, knowing the conditions, knowing how the guys are feeling. That’s something we’ll have to manage throughout the game but if I see an opportunity where we can play quick and get a good opportunity, I’ll take it.”

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