OBETZ, Ohio – After five matches without a win for Columbus Crew SC, Emanuel Pogatetz was not pleased.
And things came to a head Sunday – after the Austrian defender started two of Crew SC’s last three matches on the bench – in the form of a Facebook post expressing his frustration, despite the fact that head coach Gregg Berhalter said the decision was purely based on rest.
Emanuel Pogatetz's statement raises more questions. Was this not communicated that he was being rested? pic.twitter.com/tu6Hdsqzch— Patrick Guldan (@GuldanMR) June 7, 2015
At Crew SC training Monday, neither Pogatetz nor Berhalter shied away from the comments, and the coach said he wasn’t upset at Pogatetz’s message.
“I think it’s great; I think it’s great that you have guys anxious to get on the field and guys not satisfied with being substitutes,” Berhalter said. “In terms of the forum for doing that, I think it could have been more useful to talk directly to the coaching staff, but we need guys that want to be on the field. I think that’s a good sign.”
Pogatetz was apologetic, agreeing it could have been handled differently, but he didn’t back down from his stance, adding he’s working on moving forward.
“I had a conversation with [Berhalter] today,” he said. “What happened happened, and I think we can’t do anything about it now. So all I want to do is focus looking forward. I’m fully committed. I understand, and I want to help the team if I play or if I don’t play.
“I think the most important thing is the team, and that’s what we all have to impress. That’s what I have to impress. I understand that, and from now on we just come together as a team and focus on getting results.”
After hashing out their differences, Pogatetz said he felt he and Berhalter were back on the same page.
“I told him how I felt about the situation, and he told me how he felt,” Pogatetz said. “Like Gregg said and like I say now, it’s spoken and it’s done. So I don’t really know what else to say about it now. I’m passionate about the game, and sometimes you handle things different than the coach wants you to, and that’s understandable. The most important thing is that you come together and talk about it and focus on the things ahead.”
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Berhalter stood by the fact that there was only rest in the plans for Pogatetz during the two matches he started on the bench. He said he was unaware of the defender’s concerns before the club’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday, and that if he could change anything it would simply be making that more evident to the player.
“I think maybe there could have just been clearer communication,” he said. “We had a plan; we talked about the plan the whole time. We had to deviate from the plan when Michael [Parkhurst] got a red card.”
And after the talk, Berhalter said he likes Pogatetz’s mindset and that the defender is “right where we want him to be,” physically.
“If you’re in a situation that the team’s not playing up to its capabilities or not getting the result that you’d like, you want guys that want to be on the field and want to solve that,” he said.