nicolas gaitan colorado

Quote Sheet | Chicago Fire 4:1 Colorado Rapids

QUOTE SHEET
Chicago Fire 4:1 Colorado Rapids
Recap

Chicago Fire Head Coach Veljko Paunović
On the importance of getting three points today…
“Very important, definitely. We were looking for a game like this. We were looking for a game to score and to have a win with multiple goals in favor. I don’t think we started well. I don’t think the first half we played the way we wanted, but it helped us to understand what kind of opponent we had in front of us. Even though we had a lot of opportunities in the first half, we conceded in the only way where we knew that they could hurt us. It’s on set pieces and corners. Our emphasis was not conceding on fouls in our half and corners. But in that one opportunity they had, they scored. So it was a little bit of frustration at halftime. But after the adjustments, after calling out a couple of guys who have to give more, and after realizing that we actually were on a good path, we confronted an opponent who, like us, needed a win, needed to get points. We also saw that we were better prepared and after that realization and that communication between the group, we went outside in the second half with a full determination to win the game and I think we opened very well and it worked perfectly because the plan in the first half actually worked. We just had to stay consistent and that’s how we actually broke it down.”

On Nico Gaitán becoming more comfortable with the team…
“Yeah, definitely, he’s figuring out how he can fit in the team and the team is figuring how we can play with him. I think he almost got that fifth assist, actually he did but we didn’t score that goal. (Amando) Moreno had an opportunity for a fifth goal at the end of the game. I believe he played the ball to him. So he’s figuring out very well and the team is also learning how to play with Nicolás and that worked perfectly. I think he had a very good game. He opened the game with a great assist to (Nemanja) Nikolić. Also, I think in crucial moments of the game he showed up. He gave the team what we needed, which is a pass sometimes and also sometimes the final pass. That’s something that we were missing in the past and now we have it. We just have to take, and we know he can give more, and also give a little bit more not only assisting but also sometimes finishing the actions. We know that he has a fantastic and classy left foot so we’re very excited to see what else he can bring to the table for the team. “ 

On Tim Howard’s career and the team’s matchup against the goalkeeper…
“Well, definitely, big player with a great career coming here and it’s a huge honor to have him here. But also, it’s a huge motivation for our players to play. You always want to be the champions. You always want to prove yourself against the best players and goalkeepers in front of you and that’s additional motivation I think that the guys had. But definitely we have respect for our opponents and in this case for Howard. We went outside and gave our best and we’re also very happy that we had the performance for our fans, having better weather finally. That all helps. With this win we’re also looking forward to seeing our crowd coming back to the stands and, like always, helping the team to achieve our goals.” 

On the decision to insert Djordje Mihailović into the lineup replacing Mo Adams…
“Definitely, different kind of players. They contribute in a different way to the team, so we were looking for -- with all the defensive work that Djordje can do in the midfield -- we were also looking for somebody, we needed one more player who could get into the opponent’s box. A player like him that can go box-to-box and being good on the ball to find good spots to turn. We needed a little bit more of an offensive approach to start the game and I think we found that very well and, at the end of the day, it worked also that he got into the box and scored the goal after a great assist by Gaitán. We also looked for him to find his form and we are keeping all our guys engaged. As you can see, we’re giving opportunities to that core group that we have. They need to be on the field, but we also know that the season is long, and we have to keep everyone engaged, so sometimes we rotate or give opportunities -- obviously depending on our opponents -- but opportunities to the guys to maintain their form and look and find their form throughout the games. But, most importantly, that was a technical and tactical component to start with Djordje today, not with Mo, which I believe helped the team very well. And I must say that when Mo came in, it was a perfect moment for him to help the team and he had a fantastic performance, too. I think he fit very well in the second half and gave the team solidness and a defensive mindset that we needed in that moment.” 

Chicago Fire midfielder Nicolás Gaitán (translated from Spanish)
On his performance and integrating to the team…
“As I said before, I'm getting to know them more and them me and that makes things much easier. It was necessary to win this game that we were playing at home and it was important to get the three points. We have three games on the road which are going to be difficult which is why it was very important to get the three points.” 

On if he is feeling 100 percent…
“No, you can always improve. I think a soccer player always has to aspire for more. Today was a good game from the entire team and that also made my game better than in the previous games we played. The adaptation is a game-by-game process and I'm happy with today's game and the win.” 

On the importance of getting a win against Colorado…
“They're three very important points. We have to get these three points and it doesn't matter who they're against or what position they are in. We have to focus on ourselves to try to play a game like today's and get the three points. It doesn’t matter who we are playing, we have to do our jobs and win.” 

On playing the full 90 minutes and if he's anxious to get his first goal…
“Good question. The last five or 10 minutes kind of cost me a bit more. It happened in the last game I played. At the 70th minute, I was dead, so to speak, and today it wasn't until the 85th so that's a good sign that game by game I'm getting better physically. It's not my characteristic, the goal. Today I had a chance to score but I gave a pass to my teammate when I had a chance to score. I think that's my characteristic and that's one of the reasons why Chicago signed me and the manager wanted me to come. Clearly every player likes to score a goal but that's not my priority. My priority is to make the team play well and then assist my teammates. If I can score a goal in the process then all the better.” 

On winning MOTM and if he's ever been given a guitar…
“I've never gotten a guitar. It's a bit out there but something nice. Very nice. In other teams like Benfica we got something similar. The people would choose a player and I've won a few watches and now a guitar. But I like it. It's something different.” 

Chicago Fire forward CJ Sapong
Overall thoughts on the match…
“A complete performance by the guys. A performance that we felt we put together in the beginning of the season. We just didn't have the end result. Today we had that and it was fun, you know. We can capture that energy and hopefully use that going forward.” 

On the four goals scored by the team…
"It's something that we've seen the potential in training and for everyone along the front three to get a goal today, that's big time for us. Today we were searching for each other and trying to get other members on the score sheet and that's the mentality I think we need to have success as the season goes on.” 

On the importance of the win with road games coming up…
“It's very important. Three games in eight days in MLS, you definitely have to try to get as many points out of these batches of games. Ultimately, though, it's the confidence and feeling good about a performance. When you have that, it makes it easier to get up every day, whether it's training or prepare or play another game.” 

On scoring more than one goal and getting some breathing room to express themselves…
“That's exactly it. Expressing ourselves. We got to.. we had a lot of players that got to showcase their creativity and it's one thing when you see these... like I know my teammates can do this because I see them training day in, day out but to be able to, on that stage, show, you know, what everyone's capable of it's a testament of the hard work we put in that not everybody gets to see and it's fun as a player and a teammate to see all these guys stepping up in different ways and that's the motto that we're definitely going have to try to emulate to have some success this season.”

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