USA Tour presser transcript: Lambert/Lichaj/Klopas/Friedrich
The press briefing took place in the Swissôtel Chicago Hotel.
Paul Lambert: I said in Philadelphia that the heat was really, really hard for us. Then we come here and we have the same weather. We have to combat that. But for us, it's a really tough game, as was Philadelphia. We have only been back for pre-season for two weeks and it's been great. It's been very good.
Frank Klopas : I would like to welcome Paul and everyone who is out here from Aston Villa. I hope they have an opportunity to enjoy our great city. Obviously for us, we look forward to the match. It's a great opportunity for our fans here in Chicago to come out and see a really historic club and a club that has some top quality players.I know from our standpoint it's a match we are really looking forward to. It's always exciting when you get an opportunity to compete and play against one of the best teams in the world. The players will relish it and it's a great opportunity for the fans to watch a good match.It won't be as hot and humid as in Philly so it should be a fantastic evening for soccer. It's also great for us that Villa have two players who grew up in Chicago - Eric and Brad. I am sure they can tell everyone about the great city. So welcome and we look forward to the match.
Reporter: Should be a good game after playing Manchester United last season?
FK: It's a great game against a great team with some top-quality players. It's an opportunity for the fans to come out and it's also an opportunity for us and the players. Any chance you're on the field it's about taking it serious and it's a chance for us to improve and get better as a team. Also for some of the players who will get a chance to play, it will be a chance to show they are ready from a competitive standpoint. It's a chance to show for some players that they are fit and ready as we head into the second part of the season. It should be an exciting game for sure.
Reporter: Will it be a mix-and-match side?
FK: We will put out a competitive team. We will have to rest certain players because they are carrying injuries and stuff like that but it's also a chance for some players to step in and prove they are ready. We have to look how some players are feeling with injuries and be smart about that. But whoever we put on the field I am sure they will give everything they have to put in a good performance.
Reporter: Eric, it must be nice to be back in Chicago?
Eric Lichaj: It's always good to come back to Chicago because I get the chance to see my family and friends. When I was a kid I always wanted to play for the Fire but now I'm playing for Villa and I'm absolutely fortunate to do that. It's always exciting to come back. I am very happy to have gone overseas though, I have played for the national team and it's fantastic to be playing in front of large crowds like we do at Villa Park.
Reporter: Looking forward to the game?
Arne Friedrich: In my eyes it's going to be a very good game. It's fantastic for teams in the MLS to get experience against teams from other countries. England has one of the best leagues in the world so it will be very nice to see how we compete. I am looking forward to playing against them. I look forward to playing against English teams. We will have a penalty kick?It will be a great game. It will be good for both teams to see where they are right now.
Reporter: Take it seriously in the middle of the season?
EK: I think when you play games like this it's always a great opportunity. For the lads in the team it's a chance to play against a team from a country which has one of the best leagues in the world. So we will take the game seriously. When you're a player you always want to perform well. As a team you always want to improve on certain things, whether you're playing Villa or San Jose. The team we are playing is of high quality so it will be an opportunity to see where we are, how we've improved and how far we have come.
AF: I agree. I have had problems with my injuries and I was out for almost six weeks with my hamstring. So I would like better speed and this is a good test to improve my physical strength so it should be a good game and we are all looking forward to playing tomorrow.
Reporter: Paul, what are your specific thoughts on the Fire game?
PL: For us it's another test as Burton was and Philadelphia was. We are very early into it, as everybody knows. But we are playing really well at the minute, which is really pleasing. The key for me is that the team is starting to play well and before West Ham we have to be ready. The game is a long way away but the lads have done fantastically well. It's going to be a really tough, really hard match. But we have come here to win, to get that mentality of winning. That's what we are trying to do.
Reporter: Tell us the story of why you re-signed Brad Guzan?
PL: I never knew he was away because I got to the club and I was told he was virtually leaving. I had a chat with him and I am delighted he's staying, that's for sure. Every time I saw him play he was excellent. He's probably been unfortunate that Shay Given has been a fantastic goalkeeper. But I think in pre-season everyone starts very even. Whoever plays well come the start of the season, that's who will play. But he's done great. I am really pleased with him. I am looking forward to working with him to be honest.
Reporter: Paul, what do you think about the standards of the MLS?
PL: I think it's very strong. I got asked that question the other day. I remember when I was a player I came and played in Washington. It was really cool. It was about 300 degrees. I think the game finished 0-0. Scotland came over a few months ago and ended up losing 5-1. So that shows you the American players are getting better.There are some over in Britain. I don't think the league can be underestimated. The league is getting better and the players are getting stronger. I don't think there's such thing as an easy game. I think you have to earn the right to win a game. If you don't you end up losing!
Click here to watch the press conference on AVTV.
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