Patrick Vieira was concerned about the inexperience of his backline heading into a fourth round U.S. Open Cup showdown with the New York Cosmos.
As it turned out, it was his forwards who let him down.
For a second straight year, NYCFC lost to the Cosmos in the same round of the tournament. And for Vieira, there was plenty of blame to go around after the 1-0 defeat at Fordham’s Coffey Field.
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“I gave some players a chance to perform, to show me they deserve to play more and they didn’t show it today,” Vieira said. “That’s why I’m quite really frustrated because the trust I had in them, I didn’t get it back. It’s difficult for me to accept.”
Vieira said he shares the blame because of the starting XI he chose.
“As a manager, I’m the one who made the selection and I am the first one to put my hand in the air and say I made a mistake when I made the decision to rest so many players,” Vieira said. “I’m the first responsible for the performance of the players.”
It was another situation Vieira said his forwards, in this case Khiry Shelton, Patrick Mullins and Kwadwo Poku, didn’t show enough humility in the attacking third.
“If you don’t show [humility], you have to be [like] Monsieur Ronaldo, to have the quality to do it,” Vieira said. “When you don’t have that quality to do it, you have to keep the game simple, be humble and work hard for the team. When we don’t do it, we don’t have any chance to win games.”
It’s a bitter pill for the players to swallow, a second straight loss to the Cosmos.
“This is 2-out-of-2 against the Cosmos in this fashion where we’re left disappointed,” Mullins said.
While fans might question the club’s desire to win the U.S. Open Cup with so many first team regulars not even dressed for this budding rivalry, Vieira said that’s not the case.
“When you look at our cabinet, it is empty,” Vieira said. “This is a competition you can get to the final just by playing five games. It was an important competition for us. I’m frustrated, really disappointed and I’m upset.”