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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Bruce Arena says USA had a 'few bad eggs' after failing to qualify for 2018 World Cup

Manager, who resigned after missing out on spot in Russia tournament, concedes team composition and chemistry were not right

Christian Pulisic of the United States, No 10, is comforted after their 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in October 2017. Rebecca Blackwell / AP Photo
Christian Pulisic of the United States, No 10, is comforted after their 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in October 2017. Rebecca Blackwell / AP Photo

Bruce Arena says he accepted blame for the Americans' World Cup failure by resigning quickly, but he added there were also had a "few bad eggs" in the squad who helped spoil the team chemistry.

Three months after the United States' failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the former manager opened up about the team's shortcomings at a football coaches' forum in Philadelphia on Friday.

"It wasn't the same team with the right chemistry. It just didn't seem like everyone was on the same page with the right mentality," Arena said.

"It wasn't the character you see out of a US team. And the second part, realistically, was that we didn't have the most talented players and when we had injuries, it hurt us."

Arena also levelled his guns at armchair critics who second-guessed the team's coaching staff.

"You got some answers for me the day before the game? During the game? I'm listening," he said. "Everyone the day after, you're a bunch of phonies. I don't want to hear about it the day after. We're all the best coaches the day after."

The US hopes were dashed with a 2-1 qualifying round defeat to last place Trinidad and Tobago, ending a seven straight appearance streak for the team on football's biggest stage.

All the US needed to advance was a draw against Trinidad.

"We laid an egg," Arena said. "Top players respond to big games .... I told [the players] we've got to be ready. I think our players understood that.

"A lot of pressure built up, especially after we conceded the first goal. We seemed to get ourselves settled in after that and conceded another goal, and some people cracked."

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Arena, who also managed the team between 1998 and 2006, said injuries and a lack of depth contributed to their demise.

Then there were others in the line up who lacked the character to overcome the adversity, he said.

"We had a couple of bad eggs. We were all well aware and the players were aware [of who they were].

"Mexico and Costa Rica were better teams. But we should've been the third one. I accept that responsibility. That's why I resigned so quickly."