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Klinsmann improved after 'Too American' critique

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Jonathan Klinsmann will not be leaving - Hertha Berlin boss

Hertha Berlin goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann.
Jonathan Klinsmann was criticised by goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry.

Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai and sporting director Michael Preetz backed Jonathan Klinsmann on Thursday after the U.S. youth international was criticised by the club's goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry.

Earlier this week, Petry said Klinsmann -- the son of former Germany captain and U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann -- needed to improve his work ethic and claimed there was "too much American" in him.

His comments prompted speculation in Germany that Klinsmann could be on his way out of Hertha just a year after arriving from the University of California.

But Dardai told reporters: "We have not said goodbye to a young player after six months. That wouldn't be OK. He does a good job, needs to develop. Bit by bit.

"I don't think Zsolt is that negative -- he's got a good relationship with his keepers. And it's not that extreme. If Jonathan's second name was not Klinsmann, would we go on about our third or fourth keeper like that? Be honest -- no."

Preetz said he would speak to Petry about the "differences between internal and external communication" and added that the club would give Klinsmann "all the time he needs."

"He has not come through an academy like those players we have from Berlin or Germany. That's why we knew we must be patient with him," the sporting director said.

"He always left a good impression when it was about match practice. There are lot of things you need to work on, that's for sure."

Homegrown goalkeeper Dennis Smarsch, 19, is competing with Klinsmann for Hertha's third keeper spot, while 22-year-old Marius Gersbeck and 21-year-old Nils Korber will return to the club in the summer after loan spells in the German third tier.

Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Thomas Kraft, 29, and Norway international Rune Jarstein, 33, are secure in the top two spots.

"We've got a special constellation in goal because we have loads of exciting keepers," Preetz said.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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