A day before the United States women's soccer team was set to begin its World Cup title defense with a match against Thailand, head coach Jill Ellis responded to critical comments from former goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo, who is working as a commentator for the Women's World Cup on British television, expressed no love for her former coach with critical comments on Saturday.

"She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit," Solo said on a podcast for the BBC. "But often that doesn't matter because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb. It doesn't matter who is coaching us because we will find a way to win. The United States knows how to find a way to win in spite of who the coach is."

Ellis was asked for her reaction to Solo's comments at a news conference Monday one day before the team's opener at Reims, France.

"I mean, comments are comments," Ellis said, according to SI.com. "For me, personally, listen, I feel over the past five years I've made a lot of important decisions. I have processes to make those decisions. And at this point everything that we focus on is about this group of players that are here now.

"Pundits out there, that's part of it, and part of the message (inside the U.S. team) is always to focus on the internal part of the game."

Ellis was the coach when Solo was removed from the team following comments at the 2016 Olympics when she referred to the Sweden team as "cowards." Solo, who never played for the U.S. team again, added on the podcast that Ellis is "not the leader I wish her to be."

--Field Level Media

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