New York City Football Club Head Coach Ronny Deila has warned his players not to take opponents Sporting Kansas City lightly on Saturday.
The Boys in Blue host Sporting on Citi Field with the visitors winless on the road this season. Peter Vermes’ side has managed just three goals in five road games, and while many of the stats heading into the game paint NYCFC as favorites their coach has preached the need for diligence as they seek to avoid complacency.
“You can never underestimate a team like Kansas,” Deila said. “They are a big club, they are used to winning, they have a strong squad and a great history with being in the playoffs many times. We know that they're going to start winning again soon and so we have to do what we’ve been doing by preparing really well focusing on the small details. It’s about what we put in during training, how we take care of ourselves, and how prepared we are tactically and mentally for the game.
“It's important that we get the atmosphere we had last time at Citi Field with the fans - it was unbelievable. So I hope as many supporters as possible are coming to support us and get us over the line because this is going to be a tough game, for sure. I think the most important thing is to understand why we are performing. Why are individuals performing and why is the team performing? When you know that you can replicate it over and over again.”
Elsewhere, Deila also singled out forward Talles Magno for praise after he was named the Best Young Player in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League. The Brazilian produced three goals in six games to help NYCFC reach the semifinals, and Deila also sent his congratulations to eventual winners Seattle Sounders.
“I’m very happy for him,” he said. “He had a good tournament and a good season so far, taking steps from last year. He’s still only 19 years old so I'm very happy with the progress that he has made. At the same time we are a bit disappointed we don't win the Champions League ourselves but also very happy for Seattle Sounders.”