Nashville 4, Atlanta United 2: What was said

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan (1) waits for play to resume as Nashville SC players celebrate after a goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan (1) waits for play to resume as Nashville SC players celebrate after a goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

What was said following Atlanta United’s 4-2 loss to Nashville on Saturday in MLS action at Nissan Stadium:

Interim Head Coach Stephen Glass:

On the team’s performance tonight and not being on the front foot

“I don’t think any manager in the country can legislate for the sort of mistakes we made tonight. Defensively, off a set piece – poor, giving the ball away – poor. Not defending crosses. A team can’t be on the front foot if you can’t pass it out of your own half. That would be the reasoning behind not being on the front foot tonight.”

On how he addressed the team after the match

“I think I did a lot of my talking at halftime rather than after the game. We had a good discussion after the game. I think the players know the standards required and they know there is no excuse for the performance level tonight. We win and lose as a group obviously. I think there’s a lot of people that know they didn’t come up to the required standard to play for the club tonight.”

On if this feels like a gut-check moment for the team

"Yeah, I wouldn’t so much use the term checkpoint, but rather say it’s a reality check. If you don’t do the basic things well, or if clear instructions are not followed and people decide to do what they want to do rather than what the team needs them to do, then the team finds themselves in trouble. The reality check is that the work rate needs to stay really high. The following of instructions needs to happen. And you can’t just play for 45 minutes and expect to beat anyone. That’s the reality check. There is obviously a good number of games coming up. If we can start getting points on the board, we need to get in the playoffs. The opportunity is still there. But, there’s zero for the level tonight in my eyes.

On if Miles Robinson’s comments affected the opponents tonight

“I didn’t read his comments. If he said that word for word, I know sometimes things get reported and you don’t say them word for word and people paraphrase things. I don’t know if he said exactly that. That’s probably something you shouldn’t be saying the day before a game, if it’s what he said. It gets other teams back up, whether we believe it to be true or not. It’s not something that he should be saying the day before a game. It gives an extra incentive to the other team. There’s not much else I can say about that without seeing the actual video of him saying those words. As a former player, I’ve been quoted for saying things sometimes, when those words didn’t come out of my mouth. I’m not going to criticize Miles, but in answer to if he said those things, I would say that’s not something you should be saying about other players.”

On George Bello’s goal and if that type of attacking movement is something to build on

“Again, I’m weary of saying anything positive about the game tonight because it gets dressed up that I’m looking at positives out of probably one of the worst performances the club has seen. So, in terms of moving forward when we were attacking them at times later in the second half – and midway through the second half – there were positives aspects towards that, but I don’t pull any positives from the performance tonight.”

On being in playoff contention and how motivating that is despite where the team may be mentally

"It’s hugely motivating and I think that’s the value of the reality check tonight, if you’d like. The team is still sitting in a playoff position. There’s a lot of work to be done. We know we have to improve, but if we can improve, if you can get yourself in a decent spot later, you can build and you can continue to grow. So that is obviously the aim. That’s the work rate that will be going in. That’s the work rate that we’ll be demanding. So hopefully the players are capable of doing it. I think they are. We believe in them. Again, this performance, zero excuse. Zero reason for it tonight. But it’s important that it is a reality check and the realization that the standards at this club are higher than at a lot of other clubs and the expectations are, too. So, it’s important that we get back on board and finish the season where we need to be.

On Jurgen being taken off, and FOX Sports South saying there may be new players coming in

"Honestly, I do not know who is coming into the club, if there are any. The FOX Sports South people may have more information than myself. In terms of Jürgen Damm, he was feeling his hamstring, pretty evident. I think at the speed he runs – I don’t know why or how, obviously the physios and the medical staff are dealing with him just now. But I believe he had a hamstring issue. How severe it is, I’ve got no idea. This evening wasn’t the time to go finding that out for me. But he’ll definitely be with the medical staff and we’ll find out early in the week, I’m sure.

Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On why the team can’t focus until it has given up a goal

“I don’t know. I mean, tonight it just wasn’t good enough across the field. I take responsibility. My performance was bad. I’m wearing the arm band. I have to get better out of my teammates. But first half wasn’t good. Gave away the ball. Gave away goals. Did nothing to help Brad. Turnovers, inconsistency on the ball. It was all there.”

On being in the final playoff spot and if that is hope/motivation

“Of course, there is hope. There are 12 games left. We just did three day-trips in a week against difficult opponents so of course there is hope. There are 12 games. We have a week to prepare for our next game against a team that we need to beat. There is absolutely hope and we need to work our way out of it. It begins with working as a group and preparing to step on the field with full concentration the next time we play.”

On if he can use any of his experience to help galvanize the group

“Of course. I’ve been on bad teams for sure. You have to play your way out of it. If you don’t, it gets worse. It compounds. Each game gets worse. You don’t want to come into training. It’s also something that this club has never done and I don’t see us doing it this year. We have to work our way out of it. We have plenty of talent, plenty of ability on the field but we can’t allow ourselves to get to that place. It’s strange the way the scheduling has gone because you only can look so far ahead because you have no idea what is coming around the corner in terms of games and scheduling but we do know-seem to know- that there will be 12 more games. We have to believe that those will happen and we’ll have ample opportunity to work ourselves up and work our way out of it.”

Atlanta United defender George Bello

On Nashville’s first half goals

“We basically gave them goals; our turnovers, our mistakes. I feel like it is a focus thing, a mentality thing. Getting into the game from the first minute. We were on the back foot from the first couple of minutes. We shouldn’t feel bad for ourselves when that happens. We need to step up instead of going down. I think it is just the mental part of it and being locked in from the first second, from the first whistle. I think that is what we need moving forward.”

On the result

“It’s really frustrating not winning games. Football is all about winning and we are not doing that at the moment. But that is football and we have to keep our heads up. This is a time where we can’t crumble, blame each other or go against each other. This is the time where we really need to come together and look at what we are doing wrong. We need to stay with each other through these times. Like I said, football has tough times and this is really when we need to lock in and do things together and be together as one.”

On if the Nashville players mentioned Miles Robinson’s mid-week comments

“No, and I’m sure Miles didn’t mean that with any disrespect towards them. He just has confidence in us as players, us as teammates. No Nashville player had any comment on it. Like I said, I don’t think Miles meant it in a disrespectful way, he just has confidence in his own teammates and himself. But no comment was made on the field.”

On how the attack is progressing

“As a team, we just need to look at what we are doing wrong. [Ezequiel] Barco and I, we are both attacking players, we are both attack-minded so we kind of know each other’s movements and it is definitely getting better. Hopefully it will keep progressing throughout these games. But then end goal as a team, we just need to come together and not stray apart.”

On if he thinks he should play a more attacking role

“Not really. I’m a left back. I can attack, I can defend. I have defensive qualities, which I also need to work on as well. But it depends, wherever the coach wants me to play, I will play. I’m ready to play whenever. I wouldn’t see myself saying ‘I want to play left wing, I want to play left back.’ Wherever I am needed, I am ready to play.”xx

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Atlanta United coming games

Sept. 19 Miami, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Southeast

Sept. 23 Dallas, 7 p.m., Fox Sports South

Sept. 27 at Chicago, 7:30 pm., Fox Sports Southeast

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