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LA Galaxy’s Guillermo Barros Schelotto: Team cannot give up again as long as I’m coach

In case you thought Guillermo Barros Schelotto was just a frustrated coach blowing off steam immediately following a lopsided defeat, the LA Galaxy manager doubled down on his criticism of his squad that they gave up in the final 20 minutes of a 6-2 El Trafico loss to LAFC Saturday night.

Ahead of the Galaxy’s final Group F match against the Houston Dynamo Thursday night (8 pm ET | FS1, TUDN, FOX Deportes; TSN, TVAS in Canada), Schelotto said that’s the first, and last time, that is happening while he’s in charge.

“The game is about 90 minutes. We need to play 90 minutes — the same way we start,” Schelotto said. “When we practice during the week I question myself why we give up in the 70th minute? That’s the first point we need to check and also ask why. And it can’t happen again in any games as long as I’m the coach. I don’t like that. We need to play 90 minutes — serious and professional — and we need to try and defend the shirt of the club we have for 90 minutes.”

So what happened against LAFC? Schelotto said a lot happened in the final 10 minutes that “broke our mentality.”

“But we need to talk and always everyone playing on the pitch has to be ready to play for 90 minutes,” he said. “Even if you’re losing by one or two goals in the last 5-10 minutes anything can happen if you are in the game. When you give up before it’s time, it’s bad for the team, for the result, for everything.”

Schelotto also said the struggles down the stretch against LAFC had nothing to do with him not utilizing all five of his available substitutions — he made four changes, the last coming in the 89th minute.

“The other day up to the 70-73rd minute, the team was OK and we were not suffering in the game,” he said. “We were playing the game. And then what happened was that we fell behind, we stopped playing in the same way and that was the difference. But I don’t think it has anything to do with substitutions.”

While Schelotto wasn’t looking for excuses, the reality of having two Designated Players in Jonathan dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez back in Los Angeles injured is significant.

“Jona is the kind of player who can manage the ball and he helps the players next to him play better and manage the ball more time than usually they’re used to without Jona,” Schelotto said. “That’s the most important thing we lost without Jona. … You know he’s coming from Europe and he played with big clubs and he’s always demanding everyone around him to try to win, play offensive, keep the team paying and trying. That’s why he’s a DP. And we suffer without him a lot.”

“Without him we lost one DP and you can imagine how impactful it is when you play without a striker like him,” Schelotto added of Chicharito. “We tried with LAFC to play Pavon there and maybe to try to take advantage with his speed. He played so well that he could be very comfortable with this new function he had during this game … But we have other options. Not on the level of Chicharito of course but we’re a team and everybody has to work.”

Defender Emiliano Insua agreed the missing players play a major role, but there’s no excuse for a lack of intensity.

“We’re missing important players,” Insua said. “And in our case, when you’re missing two DPs and an important player like [Aleksandar] Katai was, the team feels it a lot. This in the first place is missing for us and we have to adjust to these absences.

“Secondly, when we lower our intensity in the games, that’s when we suffer the most. We have to keep working on this. We’re a team that in moments we break down pretty easily and the opposing team gets a lot of chances based on this. This is a point to improve upon. In the two games when these situations happened and we were poorly positioned and exposed in defense, that’s when we suffered a lot. It costs us a lot to score and the rival attacks and scores goals very easily. This is an important point to improve on.”

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