Klopas: ‘I believe in the players that we have’

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

By ANTHONY ZILIS

Chicago Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas said Tuesday that the evaluation process of Carlos de los Cobos, who was fired on Monday, began at the end of the 2010 season, when the Fire failed to make the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history.

On Monday evening it was decided that de los Cobos would be let go after beginning 2011 season with a 1-4-6 record, third-worst in MLS.

The Fire also announced that Klopas would take over as interim head coach, taking charge of the team he helped assemble.

"Obviously I have a responsibility. A majority of the players that are in the roster are in here because of myself, Mike Jeffries (director of player personnel), and of course our coach," Klopas said at Tuesday's press conference.

"In my situation, there's pressure to win with a team like this because the expectations are always high. That's not something that affects me. I know this group and I believe in the players that we have have talent."

Klopas said there was an opportunity for him to join former head coach Denis Hamlett's coaching staff when Hamlett was hired in 2008, but Klopas was hired as the Fire’s technical director that season and hasn't thought about coaching since.

This timing of this situation, however, called for someone who was involved with the team on a day-to-day basis, Klopas said. He'll likely hold the post until the end of the season.

"Moving forward, it's not the time to bring someone new in to tinker with the players with a lot of the things that are going on, and it's a lot of new players that need consistency and continuity," Klopas said.

"I know the players very well, and I think that transition would be the smoothest one of all at this moment. Obviously we are going to look to put a list of candidates as well and start that process."

Klopas has brought in 17 new players since the end of last season, six of whom started the Fire’s most recent game against the Earthquakes. Now he’s charged with leading those players.

The Fire began the season with a 3-5-2 formation, but have shifted to a 4-4-2, and a 4-1-4-1. Klopas was non-committal when asked what he would use going forward.

"With the players that we have, I'm going to play the system that best suits my players," he said.

Still, he did vaguely outline a few areas he plans to improve, including staying compact defensively, defending set pieces, and knowing how to break teams down on a game-to-game basis.

"It's not preseason, where you can come in and experiment with new things," Klopas said. "I think the important thing is continuity with the group, and just tweak certain things and fine-tune the small things."

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13 Responses to Klopas: ‘I believe in the players that we have’

  1. C-note says:

    In Frank we trust, let’s see how it goes.

  2. Frustrated Fire Fan says:

    As a long time Fire fan, we have no choice. It is so frustrating that this is the guy who fired a successful coaching staff, hired the wrong coach, and signed the wrong players. Chances are good he will be gone at the end of the year when he loses with the players he obtained. It is amazing that he says Mike Jeffries was involved in getting the players. Sounds like he is already pointing fingers. Let’s see how he does with his players.

  3. C-note says:

    True DH’s staff was successful, true Frank was at least part of the hiring team for CDLC, true there were poor signings last year. Also true there were a lot of shots bouncing off the posts but not translating to goals this year. But this roster now has flashes of quality play. The more games lost or tied, the more a coach loses his players.
    Action had to be taken. If Frank fails, then yes he must suffer the consequences, but I choose to believe that this is hope he will deliver. Let’s see what he does. Let’s go Frank, let’s go Fire, Fire til I die.
    (previous reports had Frank working one “beat” and Mike Jefferies on another, so that’s consistent with what’s been said.)

  4. b says:

    Probably not the best decision to bury the latest FIFA corruption bombshells further down the site because a MLS coach made some innocuous comments… but then what do I know.

  5. I’m not a big Fire fan, but for what it’s worth, I thought they looked pretty solid in the few matches I saw them in (the one against Toronto sticks out in my mind). I’ve heard that Chicago is trying to develop a “total football” style team, built around good possession and passing – I hope the new coach(es) continue to push for that sort of play. It was highly entertaining to watch.

    Style means nothing without results, though, so I can see why de los Cobos was let go.

  6. aaronsinger says:

    If that was the one and only post on FIFA corruption, sure.

    But, as the topic is FIFA corruption, there will be many of them!

  7. aaronsinger says:

    Yep, it’s about results. I can’t remember the last time the Fire won a MLS game.

  8. Hernan says:

    You better believe in getting a central midfielder or this team isn’t going anywhere…

  9. I like it very much, thank you

  10. enositis says:

    Klopas better like the players he has — he is responsible for all of them being there. Now what can he do with them? I would bet not much.

    Until he shows he is a natural coach like Jason Kreis or Pep Guardiola, it must be noted that Klopas has never been the coach of an outdoor team. And I don’t think even Pep or Sir Alex could do much with this weak, weak group.

    But it seems the plan is for the club to search for a real coach as it continues to retool with Klopas in charge of personnel. Judging by his abysmal track record at judging talent, I fear this assures Fire futility for years to come.

    Nobody is coherently expressing these questions. The lack of decent soccer coverage in Chicago is really being felt at a moment like this.

  11. Chicago - Scott says:

    Bet you we make the playoffs now.

  12. Allen23 says:

    As a Fire fan, I can say that this is the most fun team to watch since Blanco left. They are not getting the results, but it is mostly due to 1 or 2 bad plays on defense and having to play from behind EVERY WEEK. I don’t know if Frank will make a huge difference but I for one like this team and if they can find a quality defender or a controlling mid. they will be alright.

    I hope they focus on the US Open cup, ’cause with this team i think they can go far in that tourney.

    Good luck Frank.

  13. Stan says:

    No CAM since Blanco…It’s not the coaching