Ronny Deila and Ronald Matarrita faced the media on the eve of New York City FC’s first-ever Scotiabank Champions League match.
24 hours ahead of City’s Round of 16 First Leg showdown with AD San Carlos, Deila spoke at his pre-match press conference and emphasized that his squad is eager to get back to business.
Deila told reporters: “We have had some good time to prepare for this game. We’ve seen a lot of San Carlos games and we feel well prepared. We’ve been training well for a long period, so we just want to get started with some important games now.
“We have prepared well but the most important thing is what we do. We know they’re a good team, they’re going to fight and they’re going to do everything to beat us. We have to stand up to the fight and if we can do that, we know what we can do at our best.”
It’s a huge early test for Ronny and his new team, entering into the 2020 season with such an important match first up.
However, Deila has been here before. The Norwegian found himself in a similar situation when he took the reins at Celtic FC in 2014 and he believes NYCFC have the mentality and quality to obtain a positive result in Costa Rica.
“It’s the same as when I was at Celtic,” Deila remembered, “We started with the qualification for the Champions League in just two weeks. It’s a bit similar here that we have to play a very important game very quick, without any games in the league, so of course that is a little bit of an advantage for San Carlos that they have played some games in the league but at the same time, I'm so confident in the players I have on the team. I think we're going to have a very good game tomorrow.”
City’s longest-serving player was sat alongside his Head Coach on familiar territory at the press conference.
Before Ronald Matarrita joined NYCFC in 2016, he used to call the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto home when he was an LD Alajuelense player, but he’ll be going all out for New York on Thursday night. The Costa Rican suffered a brutal end to a great 2019 but he’s drawing a line under what’s come before, starting in his homeland.
Matarrita said: “I think the seasons are different. At the end, all that matters is today. And what happened last year, you move on. It's a new season with new players and a new coach, new staff… so for me, you form a new team and you prepare together and to move on for this season.”