GENOA, Italy — Fresh from guiding the US national team to its first-ever win over Italy in 11 tries, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was more focused on another fine example of continued progress for the squad than Wednesday's friendly victory.
"Obviously, we are pleased with the game," Klinsmann stated to open his postmatch press conference. "To have beaten Italy on their home soil, it means a lot for us. The goal in coming here was to learn. The challenge that the game gave us, especially on the tactical side, to read the game ahead and think one step ahead was big."
The boss had plenty of individual praise for the players, but seemed most proud of the overall team effort. It was the fourth straight one goal win for Klinsmann’s side, and the team record under the German coach is now 5-4-1.
The hosts had 61 percent of the ball and fired 19 shots, offering precisely the type of opposition test the coach wanted.
"For the players, this was a big step for them to handle the 90 minutes on high alert and I think they did an awesome job today," said Klinsmann. "I think they'll take a lot from this game, not just because they won the game, but also from an experience point of view. As we said months ago, we want to play all the big teams we can so we can improve.
"Tonight, the players were giving everything they had. As a coach, you are pleased to see them progressing, to see young players stepping up to play against these amazing, experienced Italian players that won the World Cup."