Jose Mourinho has backed Jurgen Klinsmann after the USA head coach came under fire recently regarding his less than optimistic prediction for USMNT's World Cup prospects.
Speaking to Yahoo Sports this week, the Chelsea manager felt Klinsmann was right to urge caution, admitting that the USA would do well to qualify from what has been dubbed by many as the Brazil tournament's 'group of death.'
The comments come after Klinsmann was berated by fans and media pundits alike back in the US after stating that the US national team had no hope of winning the 2014 World Cup, so the backing from the Portuguese boss is a timely boost:
" I have to agree. I think success for the US is not to win the World Cup is not to win the World Cup," stated the Chelsea boss.
"Success as a starting point is to qualify in such a difficult group with two of the most powerful European teams and with a very strong African national team too, so I think success would be in qualifying."
Perspective is key
The US got their World Cup campaign off to a perfect start with a crucial 2-1 win over Ghana, a result that gave Klinsmann some respite room from his critics, but they still face a tough task to qualify from a group that contains both Germany and Portugal - two teams that placed high in the pre-tournament FIFA rankings:
"So many important countries in the world of football, and so many of them, they have never won it (the World Cup)," continued Mourinho.
Back in the US however, Klinsmann drew huge criticism a few weeks back after attempting to contain the optimism growing around the stars and stripes. The traditional American ethos of never accepting defeat, and a immovable self-confidence leading to some to question whether the former German international should even remain in charge of the team.
Whilst sceptical about USA's chances of going all the way in Brazil, Jose Mourinho did admit that he has been impressed with the continued rise of the game in North America:
"I go to the States for many, many years in pre-season matches and I play against MLS teams and I see clearly an evolution in everything.
"In the qualities of the players. In the passion for the game. So i think clearly you are in the right direction, but to win the WOrld CUp you need more talent. Only the top South American teams and top European teams, they have this extra talent that can push a team to be world champion." explained Mourinho.
Major League Soccer is certainly improving in quality, and with a continued influx of top-quality talent such as Spain's David Villa, alongside a foundation of domestic players spearheaded by the likes of Michael Bradley and Kyle Beckerman there is much promise surrounding soccer in the US.
The USMNT and Klinsmann meanwhile will attempt to overcome Mourinho's country of birth this Sunday as they take on Portugal.