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What Bob Bradley, Sunil Gulati had to say Tuesday

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U.S. national team manager Bob Bradley and his boss, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati spoke to media Tuesday about the contract extension that will keep Bradley at the helm through 2014.

“We certainly believe that the work that went into past four years, the experience we’ve had, will really work for us as we put one cycle behind us and begin the cycle of the next four years,” Bradley said.

You can hear the entire hour-long news conference on U.S. Soccer’s podcast later … or you can scan the highlights here.

Among them:

Gulati allowed that, yes, he did think long and hard about the tendency for managers to do worse on their second World Cup go-round. It was a significant consideration and a concern… but not much more than that, he said.

“I came to the conclusion that the experience and the record, the work over the last four years, overcome any issues over the last four years of staleness,” Gulati said.

(Much more … read on)

Here’s what Bradley had to say about it. “I think around the coaching world, the ability as a coach to continue every day, every year, to challenge the players the right way, to know how in cetin moments to re-energize yourself, to re-focus yourself, in some ways to re-invent self … I think that is what coaching is about.”

Bradley specifically cited time spent around Manchester United and storied boss Sir Alex Ferguson as the kind of time that can create new ideas and improve the ways and means of his own performance.

Gulati would not comment on whether he interviewed Jürgen Klinsmann. He was asked twice about other candidates, and once specifically about Klinsmann. “We’re here to talk about Bob’s appointment,” Gulati said. “And we’re not going to talk about other conversations we may or may not have had with other candidates.”

As for the timing, Gulati said the decision had been made by Monday morning. The two talked and it became clear that both were at the point where they just needed to sort out the economic details. So Bradley flew to New York, the details were indeed sorted and … well here we are.

The right call? Personally, I always thought Bradley did a good job overall. Like the rest of us, he had some bad moments. His lineup choices in the second-round match against Ghana will remain a sore point for many passionate U.S. supporters, and a point of wonder about what might have been.

I honestly thought that Gulati would make a change. But I also thought Gulati, who is much more pragmatist than ideologue, would not make a change for change’s sake. I thought that if he turned up a very good candidate who could offer new ideas, then the choice might make itself. In absence of that (i.e., an eager Klinsmann or a globally hot commodity such as Chilean manager Marcelo Bielsa), I thought Gulati would happily fall back on Bradley. That is, apparently, exactly what happened.