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Valentino: "Really focused on the first game" against Houston

Interim Head Coach Rob Valentino spoke to the media Friday about the next steps for Atlanta United coming out of the International break. 

Valentino stated that his sole focus for the moment is the Houston Dynamo match on June 15, and his message to the team after this international break will be to bring back the enjoyment everyday, on and off the field, and start getting results in the short term. 

“I think if you look at teams and organizations, It's not one person's fault. It's shared in terms of where we are at in that sense. There's that responsibility, that accountability, and also on the other side of it, I want there to be shared success,” said Valentino. “It's not on one coach or one player, or one front office staff member. I think that we really want to enjoy the day to day, enjoy the shared success and I think that's what's going to be the message moving forward from myself for the next couple of days.”

Valentino was the interim head coach back in 2021 where he had a record of 4-2-2, and has worked with multiple different coaches during his time with the club. He stated that he has taken something from every single one, and one aspect that he has thought more about is how Atlanta can attack in different ways. 

“I think about transition moments a lot, especially with this league. You look at where teams spend money and where teams have really dangerous attackers, and they've got speed and those transitional moments become really big,” said Valentino. “Just being in Atlanta for the time period I've been here and listening to the crowd, I feel like the transitional moments become really big and it has piqued my interest, and how we can create more of those moments in our favor.”

With the head coach position needing to be filled at Atlanta, Garth Lagerwey mentioned in his press conference on Monday that Valentino would be a potential replacement, but the interim head coach is solely focused on the next game for the Five Stripes. 

“I'm just really focused on the first game, getting everybody back in the building and starting to attack from there. I'm not gonna think too far ahead. That's not in my nature. I'm trying to be very, very present and that way, I'll let the rest take care of itself,” said Valentino when asked if he wants the full time position. “I think it's a result oriented business at the end of the day if the  chips fall there and then okay. I've stated before that I would love to be a head coach at some point in my career, and if that's in Atlanta, or if it's elsewhere, you know, we'll cross that bridge when it comes to it.” 

Atlanta United is back in action June 15 where they face off against Houston Dynamo FC at 7:30 p.m. at Mercedes Benz Stadium. 

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