Union's Earnie Stewart: Fans' pressure on Jim Curtin isn't fair

Philadelphia Union fans and other observers waiting for sporting director Earnie Stewart to turn up the heat on manager Jim Curtin got a firm response ahead of Friday's game against New York City FC: It's not happening right now.

Speaking to ESPN's Taylor Twellman in a video interview, Stewart emphatically stated that pressure on Curtin is "not from internally." He also added: "Do I think it's fair? No."

You can watch the video and read a transcript of the interview below.

Twellman: How much pressure is on Jim Curtin? There's been some media reports and some real uproar within the Philadephia local media about Jim Curtin being in the crosshairs.

Stewart: Let's put it this way: it's not from internally. I see what he does every single day. I think Jim is a very good coach. I think he's a young coach, that he's still learning at the same time. But that's the process that the Philadelphia Union is in right now. Not only with their players, but also with the coach. He has certain things that others don't have.

Twellman: Which is what?

Stewart: He's a brilliant people-manager. And I dare say this because I've worked under him, as have you - that is something Bruce Arena has. I don't think there are many out there that get that close to him, and I think Jim is one of those guys. He's tactically very good, he knows how to talk, he knows how to explain what he's doing, and he does it on the field every single day.

So that's when you go back and analyze. When you only look at winning and losing, yes, I understand it, that people, you know - we're five games in, we haven't won a game, and then it's directed toward someone. Do I think it's fair? No. Because I see certain things in the game, and I can mention those games again that we've played - I've seen some good things.

And we ask of a club - I myself ask Jim - to do certain things. Because this is our direction, this is who we are, and this is who we want to be for the future.

Stewart's remarks were part of a wide-ranging interview with Twellman for ESPN's website and TV channels. Other topics discused include how Stewart has seen Major League Soccer change over the years, and where he thinks the U.S. national team is headed. A futher segment will be aired during the TV broadcast of the Union-NYCFC game Friday night (7 p.m., ESPN and ESPN Deportes).

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