Donovan slams Klinsmann's tactics after U.S. exit

Thu Jul 3, 2014 12:32pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - Landon Donovan, the United States' record scorer who was left out of the World Cup squad, has criticized coach Juergen Klinsmann's tactics during their campaign which ended with a 2-1 second round extra-time defeat by Belgium.

Klinsmann's decision not to include 32-year-old Donovan in his 23-man squad surprised many fans and pundits and increased speculation that the pair did not see eye-to-eye.

While Donovan has been careful with his words in his television appearances during the tournament, the team's exit prompted a pointed critique of the German coach's approach.

"I think the most disappointing is we didn't seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint," he was quoted as saying on the Major League Soccer official website .

"I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don't think (tactically) we were set up to succeed... and that was tough to watch."

Donovan said Klinsmann had turned away from the positive approach he had adopted since taking over the U.S. team in 2011.

"They were set up in a way that was opposite from what they've been the past couple of years, which is opening up, passing, attacking – trying to do that. And the team has been successful that way.

"Why they decided to switch that in the World Cup, none of us will know. From a playing standpoint, I think the guys will probably be disappointed in the way things went," he said.   Continued...

USA midfielder Landon Donovan (10) controls the ball against Mexico defender Miguel Ponce (16) and midfielder Juan Medina (26) in the second half during a friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium. Apr 2, 2014.Justin Tooley-USA TODAY Sports - RTR3JQEJ