New York City FC manager Patrick Vieira says that Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa will be crucial for his team when they embark on their first visit to the playoffs at the end of this month.
City’s 4-1 win over Chicago Fire mathematically secured their place in the postseason at the second time of asking, having failed to progress past the regular season in their debut campaign in 2015.
However, in his first campaign as boss, Vieira has transformed NYC into a genuine contender for the MLS Cup this year and hailed the balance of his squad as a major contributing factor to their success.
“They [Lampard, Pirlo and Villa] have a lot of experience on the field and off the field, so that’s why they will help and be really important in the play-off time,” Vieira told ProSoccerTalk.
This will be both Villa and Pirlo’s first visit to the MLS Playoffs
“I am really quite pleased because I have a really good mix between young players and experienced players and I think if we manage that well, we will give ourselves some more chances.”
A major part in NYC’s surge to the playoffs this season has been due to their recent home form, turning Yankee Stadium into a real fortress and a place opposition teams fear travelling to.
After winning just one of their first ten games in all competitions at the famous baseball ground, NYC have completely turned their fortunes around with an outstanding six wins and a draw from their last seven home games.
Vieira admitted he was delighted by the team’s achievement of reaching the playoffs but says it’s only the beginning of what NYC hope to achieve – also maintaining that his team’s open, attacking style of football will not change during the postseason.
Frank Lampard has 12 goals from just 15 starts this season
“We are in a really good period,” he added. “We had some ups and downs during the season but to qualify for the play-offs was just a small step to what we want to do as a football club. We want to be successful. We want to win silverware.
“We want to be really offensive, really dynamic and play with a lot of energy,” he said. “Of course it is not going to be easy but we need to find a way to do it because we want to represent the city.
“It is about attacking football, an attacking way of playing, it is scoring goals and I think at times we have done it quite while. It is also to play with a lot of energy, passion and for the players to give 100 per cent. You can win the game, you can lose the game… but what is important is that when the players are on the field, they give everything.”