New York City FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira paid tribute to his players and backroom team following an emphatic win over Columbus Crew SC.
The Frenchman refused to take any of the credit for his team clinching a First Round bye with the 4-1 victory, hailing the professionalism and dedication of the boys in Blue throughout the campaign.
It was the perfect end to an exciting regular season for NYCFC and Vieira is delighted with the improvement he’s seen in his ten months in charge.
Vieira told journalists in his press conference: “I don’t want to talk about last year because I wasn’t here. When I came to this football club I found people who were willing to work hard together and that made my job easy.
“Hard work made us qualify for the playoffs, of course when I look back to the team for our first game against Chicago we’ve improved. We have a clear philosophy on how we want to play the game.
“All credit to the players and staff – they worked really hard and we are where we are today.
“Khiry, Frank and Jason were good when they came on. That’s the message I gave them in the dressing room – this team makes it hard to pick a starting XI.
“The way the team performed today made it very difficult for me and now I have a week to make a decision.”
Vieira was also effusive in his praise for one of the day’s match-winners, Jack Harrison.
The English winger restored NYCFC’s lead in the second half with a stunning finish.
“Jack has been doing really well – he’s played with a lot of confidence,” Patrick smiled.
“He has a lot of talent and he’s a really important player for us. He had a tough period of injuries but we know what we’re getting with Jack.
“It wasn’t easy to get him in the draft but we did our homework really well and that’s why I’m happy with Claudio and David, to be working with them, because they made the magic happen.”
NYCFC demonstrated their tactical flexibility in the match, lining up with three at the back with Ronald Matarrita and RJ Allen as wing-backs.
The boss believes that this adaptibiliy will stand the squad in good stead, not only for the playoffs, but for years to come.
Vieira explained: “We still have a lot of areas to improve – we had a few injuries in the season, especially in defense so that’s been moving a lot.
“The players have a better understanding of their responsibilities on the pitch. Maxime and Fred with Andoni had a really good understanding. In the next few years, with the way this team is going to work, we will only get better.”
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