Training Quotes | #MINvCHI

Training Quotes | #MINvCHI

MINNESOTA UNITED HEAD COACH ADRIAN HEATH

On his thoughts on the COVID positive cases for Minnesota United
“Well, as everybody has been fully aware, you look at the teams around the league, it’s been incredibly difficult to keep everybody safe. And we had a couple of the guys test positive the other day. We think we’ve been very fortunate in the fact that we caught it early on. We managed to isolate the guys. So far, so good. We’ve kept it to the two. And, when you look at what other clubs have had to go through, I think of Colorado Rapids, you look at the Tennessee Titans, have found it really, really difficult to contain it once it gets in there. So, you know, hats off to the people at the club, the medical people, and the discipline of the players, really, to try and stay away, keep themselves doing the protocol that they’ve been given. So, we just hope we’re over the worst of it now and we’ve contained it to two. But we’re very, very mindful that this is an ongoing thing.”

On how, as the head coach, he reassures people, staff, players that may be uncomfortable with the situation and get the better of this …
“We spoke about it the other day. About, it’s another hurdle for us to overcome. We’ve had so many this year. You know, you go back to the individual training. You go back to the bubble in Orlando. You go back to coming back, and certain clubs not being available to play. And, then, traveling on the day of the game. This is just another hurdle. And we’ve spoke to the players about not using it as an excuse – we’ve had plenty of excuses we could have used this year – but the players haven’t. When I look back at the amount of injuries we’ve had. The people unavailable. And now, this. I think it speaks volumes for us to be in the position that we’re in and it shows you the commitment and the level of professionalism of all the players. It looks like we’re getting a few bodies back now, and we’re going to need them moving forward, between this little run and hopefully the playoffs. Fingers crossed that COVID has been and gone. We get everybody fit and healthy. And we go into the playoffs in hopefully a real rich vein of form with everybody fit and well. And, if we do, I’m confident enough in this group that we can make a good rest of the year.”

On his thoughts on Chicago Fire and what they’ve done so far this season ... 
“It’s never easy when you’re sort of rebranding the club from the inside and the outside. Because, they’ve virtually, I think it’s 18 new players since the start of last year. You know, they rebranded, they’ve gone back to the big stadium, Solider Field, they’ve had the rebranding. And, I said it at Disney, I think they’re a really well-organized, well-drilled outfit. You know, they’ve got strength in good positions with [Robert] Beric, CJ Sapong, he’s always a handful, [Fabian] Herbers, he’s had a sort of renaissance if you’d like, [Przemyslaw] Frankowski, with his pace in wide areas. They bought some really good competitive and combative midfield players. This is going to be a tough game for us. A well-organized, well-motivated team. For what’s a really important week for us when you look at what’s at stake. Wednesday. Then, at the weekend. Suddenly, you put six points on then, will get us a long way to where we think we’ll need to be for the playoffs. So it’s something that we’ve spoke about. It’s something we could have ill-afforded the three days where we haven’t been able to train in the buildup to this game, but, as I said, I don’t want to use it as an excuse. I want the players to be focused on what we can do about it, not what we can’t.”

 

MINNESOTA UNITED DEFENDER MICHAEL BOXALL

On facing the Chicago Fire…
“We had 45 minutes against them down in Orlando in the bubble and I think they were a very well-coached team. The way they moved the ball in the first 20-30 minutes of that game gave us a bit of issue. They’re obviously comfortable with the ball in all positions and I think it took us 15 minutes into that game to really figure them out. They didn’t really create any threats, they scored a couple goals from distance but for us, as it is against most teams, we stay compact and we soak up a lot of pressure and we catch teams on the counter.”

On Robert Beric…
“I think it’s great that we’re finally playing teams that we haven’t played before. Conversely, that kind of goes both ways. He’s not sure what to expect from our back four and how we defend. Anytime we’ve come up against perceived difficult challenges, we always rise to that occasion. Bakaye [Dibassy] has come in and he’s looked so comfortable and it’s great playing alongside him, the few times we have lined up alongside each other.”

On his partnership with Bakaye Dibassy…
“He just so sure of himself. When he’s in the ball, he’s so calm and relaxed, he almost looks too relaxed for my liking but he always does the right thing at the right time. His positioning is first class. He’s played at a very decent level for a long time and he made the transition – it’s usually a tough transition coming from any league to the MLS but he’s come in and done really well. As if he’s been here all year long.”

On young players like Dayne St. Clair, Hassani Dotson and Jacori Hayes…
“We saw so much of Dayne last year at training, just how capable he is, and now that he’s got the opportunity – I hate using the pun ‘He’s grabbed it with both hands’ – he’s done really well. I’m sure it’s surprised a few people but if you ask anyone within the club, when you see what he’s done and how hard he’s worked with [Stewart Kerr] and the other goalkeepers, it’s no surprise to us. When it comes to Jacori and Hassani, they’ve been called in to do bit parts throughout the season, and Hassani last year as well. I think now they’ve got a few good run of games alongside each other, they can really get a good partnership going. What they offer, with or without the ball, is so key to us doing well. They’re great at breaking up other teams’ attack and they’re both composed and comfortable on the ball, can riddle themselves out of tough situations. I don’t know if you know but Hassani has not got a bad shot on him either.”

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