Ronny Deila: “I think we are a very emotional team. When I saw the games last year, it’s like very, very emotional all of the time.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Of course, New York City FC’s goal is to win the MLS Is Back Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
The team wouldn’t be a contender for the Major League Soccer title if it didn’t have attitude.
But head coach Ronny Deila might have another goal for his squad – show some more maturity and less emotions in the right situations in matches, especially when officiating decisions go against his team.
After watching all 34 regular season matches and the playoff loss to Toronto FC in 2019, Deila could not help but notice that problem.
“I think mentally, that’s something we have to improve in the team,” he said during a media conference call on Tuesday, previewing City’s first MLS Is Back Tournament game against the Philadelphia Union Wednesday at a.m. “I think we are a very emotional team. When I saw the games last year, it’s like very, very emotional all of the time.”
So, team discipline was and is needed.
“If we’re going to perform in the big matches over time, you need to keep discipline, whatever happens in the game,” Deila added. “If it’s a bad referee’s decision, if you go one-nil down, if you go one-nil up, if one of the players are injured, if it’s a bad tackle, whatever happens, then we need to have more discipline in the team because if we open up then the opponents will get more chances than us. We need to have that structure.
“Skills are no problem. To deal with hard times and things are not going exactly how we wanted, that’s something we need to work on, something we need to improve to be a champion that can fight to be champions.”
Midfielder Keaton Parks agreed that NYCFC was an emotional side “since we’re all very competitive.” The players, however, need to find the right balance between its strong spirit and not allowing things get out of hand, he added.
“Even within the small-sided games in training, we all want to win,” Parks said. “We always want to have a fair game. It does come down to a lot of referee calls and people yelling at the ref and maybe stopping in the middle of training. It just comes down to our competition. I don’t think it necessarily is a bad thing. When it comes to game time, we need to keep that competitive spirit and if there is a bad referee calls, we do need to continue and just play it out.”