Patrick Vieira had a lot to say after his men took down the Chicago Fire put together a gutsy performance in a match that saw them play with ten men for more than 80 minutes.
Vieira praised his side's discipline, desire, and resilience as they outlasted the Fire and closed the gap between themselves and the top of the table.
"You don't win these type of games if you don't show a togetherness and character," said Vieira. "Today we showed a lot of desire and discipine as well. When I look at the players after the game in the dressing room, I couldn't ask for more than what they gave today.
"When you're going with ten men, players regroup together, and fight and work harder than when they are eleven. It's actually really strange. But I think we had discipline, we knew what we needed to do, and we did it quite really well.
"We wanted to stop them doing the central penetration, force them to go wide, and then we had to deal with defending the crosses. The two center backs were fantastic. Mikey came on the left hand side and did a really good job. So, I think as a team we were really disciplined, we defended well."
It was David Villa who the Head Coach singled out first when speaking about passion. The captain has a reputation for leaving his heart and soul on the field of play, but today featured an especially inspiring performance under adverse conditions. The man was just about everywhere on the field, battling from the first minute to the last, and doing what he does best: scoring goals.
"He plays the game with a lot of passion, a lot of love," remarked Vieira. "The way he performed today, he's our leader and he's a fantastic example for the players around him. The way he worked is unbelievable.
"For me, he has to be one, if not the best, foreign player playing in the league. Not just the way he scores goals, but the way he works, the way he behaves himself. We really have players who make it at a high level, and who are a really good example for the young players that we have now."
One of those young players is Jonathan Lewis, who made his first start for NYCFC today, contributing—among plenty of other things—an assist on David Villa's goal. His decision making was quick, he found space well, and he was a constant threat to stretch the Chicago defense, which took a lot of pressure off City's shorthanded defensive corps.
Vieira spoke positively of Lewis after the match, explaining how he fits into a team with loads of attacking talent both right now and for the future.
The gaffer explained: "Jonathan had a terrific game. He worked really hard from the first minute. Playing in really important games like that will make him improve, make him a better player. With his pace, he helped us to stretch them. I'm really pleased with the game that he had.
"He's been working really hard. He's just like Kwame, they come in from the draft, they need time to adjust themselves. He's growing up well, he's learning really well. We will help him to grow as a player."