Nick Cushing has urged his New York City side to pull together and remain positive in the midst of a difficult spell.
The Boys in Blue earned a point against New England Revolution, as the two sides played out a goalless draw at Yankee Stadium, but are enduring a challenging run: winless in their last eight in all competitions.
Though City’s wait for a return to winning ways continues, the Head Coach asserts the team’s luck will change for the better if the squad continue to work together and trust the process.
Reflecting on the game, Cushing said: “It feels completely frustrating because of the fact we didn’t get the point.
“I said to the guys: ‘You’ve got to keep plugging away, keep believing’ because in this game you get ups and downs.
“We did more than enough to win a football game today – I thought their goalkeeper [Djordje Petrovic] was excellent. He kept them in the game.
“They get one chance from our turnover; we get five – three really good chances. Like I said on Wednesday, we play that game 10 times, we win it more times than we draw it.
“I was really proud of the desire of the guys because there was tiredness from Wednesday, there was frustration… but what you see is a team that is really fighting together, and that fills me with so much confidence that this will turn, and we will start picking up three points and we will climb up the league.
“I don’t think there’s a panic. There are a lot of games left. We’re realistic – we’re not in the position we want to be in, and we haven’t got as many points as we’d like, so there’s real frustration – but I don’t see anybody jumping out the boat.
“I see everybody doubling down, working a little bit harder – and we had some tired guys. We play a really aggressive form of the game, and that’s why we limit teams to one chance and we have five – because we have all 11 players that work for the team.
“When you roll from Wednesday to Saturday, you can see the guys: Keaton Parks is dead physically, but he’s fighting for the team; Alfredo Morales should probably have come off earlier because he hasn’t played, but he fights for the team.
“What I know, and what I’ve just spoken to the guys about is that the togetherness of the group, and the belief in what we’re doing is right at the bottom of my worries at the moment.
“[Personally] I’m finding it really difficult because if I thought I was failing, I would admit it. I’m not going to stick to it if I don’t think I’m at the level, or I don’t feel I’ve got the respect, or the belief, or that I don’t have the answers to why we’re shipping goals, or why we’re not scoring goals.
“I take confidence and comfort from the belief of the guys that I see in the locker room, and from the performance of the team. I really understand the game, and I have a real passion for the game.
“I watch this game, and I study this game every day – and what I’ve seen in the last two games is a team that should win. I don’t have the answers why we don’t win – I don’t think the gods are with us at the moment, but I also think they will be.
“As a group, we can’t do any more than continue to grind, continue to work, continue to believe, continue to play this way. If we stop running, we’ll give away more goal chances; if we stop believing in the plan we trained, we won’t create any goal chances.
“The plan was to create chances, keep Carles Gil quiet and make sure we don’t allow them crosses into the box, and defend set-plays well. I can check every one apart from putting the ball in their goal.
“I will work so hard to make sure this team gets results, and I guarantee it will get results. All we need is that one moment.
“This football team means everything to me. I’ve been in this organization for 17 seasons now. Whether it was Manchester City’s Academy, the Women’s First Team or New York City – when I was Assistant or Head Coach – it means everything to me to win for the fans.
“Football is us – it’s in my blood. It’s inside me and if I wanted to leave, I can’t. I cant leave football – I love it so much, I’m obsessed with it. This morning, I watched the Women’s Champions League Final and the FA Cup Final at the same time, and then I come here and I fight to win a football game. Now, I’ll go straight home and watch the game again.
“I feel it deep down, and I will continue to fight. I will continue to work, and I will find the solution, and this team will get up the league, whatever the solution is.
“I had a really nice chat with the Third Rail, and I really appreciate the support, and the confidence, and the warmth they’re giving me.
“I take real comfort and confidence when I go in the dressing room, and I see a group of guys that believe in each other, trust in each other and believe in what we’re doing.”
Cushing also praised midfielder Justin Haak, who produced a solid performance at center-back with Thiago Martins and Tayvon Gray unavailable, and Mitja Ilenič continuing his return from injury.
“I thought he was excellent,” the Head Coach added. “Justin has been good every time he goes into the team.
“For a guy to go into the team and play well, they have to prepare themselves, and they have to be enthusiastic, and they have to be dedicated, and they have to really believe. That’s what we see every time we bring Justin in, and he knows what he has to do to develop to become a top MLS player.
“He’s on that path, and for us, it’s just another area that we should be proud of as a team. Of course, we’re super frustrated, but when guys like Justin aren’t in the team, and the team’s not winning, [and then they] go in and play so well, it’s a real sign that the team is together and that guys are really working for the team.”
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