New York City Football Club Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing has revealed it is a privilege to lead the Club.
Cushing, who has spent three years as assistant coach with NYCFC was promoted to Interim Head Coach in the wake of Ronny Deila's departure to Belgian club Standard Liege this week. His first game in charge will arrive on Sunday when NYCFC welcomes the Colorado Rapids to Yankee Stadium. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Cushing expressed his pride at being given the opportunity to take the club forward.
"I think during a period of change we have to think short term in terms of settling down the team - we're in a really good place," he said. "I think for us, it's about making sure that this team is prepared this week for the Colorado Rapids game. I understand the questions will come around wanting the job and the way that I approach the job. I've worked within the group for a long time and I understand that it is a huge privilege to lead the team and for me that starts this week with Colorado."
He went on to add: "I think one of the positives is that I've done this role previously and although I'd been an assistant coach for the last three seasons, previous to that I was a head coach for seven years and I'm comfortable in this role. I understand how the role is slightly different in responsibility and decision making and how you have to approach the role, but I think one thing that we have done really well over the last three years is we've built a solid process with this team. Not only do we have a solid work in process, we have a team that has a real high work ethic. And when you have those two things, I think this change can be a little bit smoother."
Turning attention to Sunday's game, Cushing revealed he is looking forward to the unique test the Rapids will present. Robin Fraser's side have started the MLS season with a record of 5-3-6 and find themselves ninth in the Western Conference.
"I think the one thing that I've learned being in this league is that it's an incredibly consistent league," he said. "Every team will give you different challenges and we just have to make sure that we prepare the team for Colorado - we know they play a unique system, and we'll be prepared for that. We've played it across different teams; Montreal and Vancouver. I think for us one thing we do is focus on ourselves. If we continue to do the things that we've done, on and off the pitch, consistently this season we will give ourselves the best chance of delivering positive results. This is a period of change, but at the same time, if we continue to produce consistency in the way that we work we give ourselves the best chance to deliver a positive result.”
Elsewhere, Sporting Director David Lee praised Cushing's quality as a coach and stressed how fortunate the Club are to have such a strong internal candidate as they begin their search for Deila's successor.
"I think we've made clear that we think Nick is a fantastic coach," he said. "I think given the suddenness of the transition it makes sense for all parties to assess, see where things are, and for everybody to be able to take a breath and go through this process.
"I think we want to look at external candidates and see if there might be someone suitable, but I think we're very fortunate to have a really strong candidate inside our own club in Nick who's done a fantastic job and has been a head coach before. He's someone that we value really highly so we're really excited for what he can do, but I think we want to make sure that we take our time to go through a process, given how suddenly this came about towards the end of last week."