August 13th, 2012 by Kelly McLain
Q: You said a few weeks ago, in regards to formation, that in an effort to push for the playoffs you would make decisions and changes to formation on a week-to-week basis to maximize the potential to get three points. Given where the team is at now, has that philosophy been altered a bit?
Wilkinson: “I think you look at the way that we play, you look at how we’ve played, we’ve addressed some key things. We wanted to get more pressure up top. We wanted to get more support to Kris Boyd in dangerous areas. The games at home we wanted to be characterized as a team that put the opposition under pressure, and I think we’ve done that. Chivas and Dallas, and even LA, we pressed high, we looked to contain them. On the road we’ve got to find our personality a little bit. The system is dictated by the players and coaching staff and the objectives that you’re trying to achieve out of the game. The team has confidence in the system that we’re playing right now, so odds are we’re going to keep pushing that for as long as possible and see if we can get a little bit more self-belief, see if we can keep pushing them a little bit more. We’re trying to create a clear identity and hopefully we start to see it a little bit more.”
Q: Is it fair to say at this point that the playoffs may not be a realistic goal anymore?
Wilkinson: “It’s tough. My personality is there’s always a chance. Where there’s always a chance, there’s always a way. For me, I’ll play it down and just say that the focus is correcting the performances, correcting individuals performances, getting consistency, and getting more belief out of the group, and then we’ll wait and see what happens.”
Q: You’ve talked about tossing out hypothetical situations to the head coaching candidates, has style/system of play/formation been in those conversations?
Wilkinson: “Everything is. The culture of the club, the philosophy of the club, how they envision what we do now with being successful moving forward, what needs to change, what personnel needs to change. We’ve raised other hypothetical situations: If you were given the chance at bringing in four MLS players now, who would they be? So we can start to look at the character, we can start to look at the attributes, we can start to get a read of the coach and the mentality of the coach through the representation that he’s put down as players. You’re also trying to get as much input from quality candidates. Whenever you have a chance to pick a brain, you might as well pick them as much as possible. Not everyone’s going to agree and the idea is that we all eventually come to the same conclusion, but we go through different channels to get there. For the coaching candidates, it’s been very interesting. It’s amazing how widely the club is respected and the reasons for it, and generally it’s the way we’ve treated people and the positives that we’re doing moving forward. It’s also about tremendous fan support, the Timbers Army, ect. There’s a lot of variables that make this a very attractive job. In interviewing candidates, you might as well ask hypothetical situations based on them being in this position next year. What would you do in this situation? What would you do here, and here? And it’s just interesting to hear viewpoints.”
Q: You’ve gotten some backlash recently from fans through various social media outlets. It’s easy to say that you just don’t listen to that stuff, but on some level you have to think about it.
Wilkinson: “I’ve been with this organization for a long time and I care about it as much as they do. I don’t think that can ever be argued, to the extent that I sacrifice a lot for this club. I understand. There’s always going to be personality differences, but they can never fault my honesty or my integrity and the way that I’m trying to go about doing things. We can always critique and criticize individuals for their decision making, and that’s always going to be the case in this job. I would much rather have a passionate fan base, and they are tremendous. You have to take the pros with the cons and sometimes the cons are that you get criticised a little bit more, you get identified as maybe the reason or the excuse for it. But you take it on the chin and move forward.”