Patrick Vieira has heard this story before, and the New York City FC manager is tired of making excuses following heartbreaking losses.
Facing off with the rival New York Cosmos in Wednesday night’s U.S. Open Cup clash, NYCFC conceded a late winner to Danny Szetela. It was yet another crushing loss for the second-year club, one made all the more painful due to the rivals that caused it.
“You can lose any kind of game. You can lose against the Cosmos. You can lose against the Red Bulls. You can lose against Philadelphia. You can lose against any kind of team in football,” Vieira said. “I think if you perform the way we perform, you will lose against any team. It’s not about the Cosmos. It’s about us and the way we perform and, of course, as a manager and coach, I’m the one who makes the selection, and I’m the first to put my hand in the air and say, yes, I made a mistake when I made a decision to rest so many players.
“I’m the first one responsible for the performances of the players. At the same time, I strongly believe that players didn’t perform today, and that is unacceptable.”
Vieira admitted his hands were a bit tied due to the competition’s roster rules, but the NYCFC manager made no excuses for how his team performed. The manager understands that they should have won Wednesday’s match, and settling for defeat was nothing but a complete failure to perform once again.
Following the loss, Vieira said he was looking to give some new faces a chance to step in and shine in the absence of the club’s biggest stars. Specifically, Vieira was most worried about his backline, a unit that, ironically, stood tall through nearly all of Thursday’s match.
It was the forward unit that troubled Vieira most, leaving the head coach scathing following the loss.
“I gave some players a chance to perform, to show me that they deserve to play more and they didn’t show it today,” Vieira said. “That’s why I’m frustrated, because the trust that I had in them, I didn’t get it back and it’s difficult for me to accept. I think my focus was on the game. Now that the game is over, we can focus on Philadelphia, but the performance of the team I think was really poor. When I talk about the performance, I talk more about the front players to be specific.
“I think the front players really let us down today with their performance… I think in football the most difficult thing is to keep the game simple. To allow yourself to keep it simple, you need to be a bit more humble. I don’t think we had the humility to win that game or to make the right decision at the right time because sometimes we are thinking that we are better than what we are.”
With a short turnaround ahead of Saturday’s match with the Philadelphia Union, NYCFC will look to erase the pain of Wednesday’s loss as quickly as possible. Yet, Vieira laments another opportunity blown for a team that has made a habit of doing just that.
“When you look at our cabinet, it is empty,” Vieira said. “This is one of the competitions that you can get to the final by playing five games. It was an important competition for us, and I’m frustrated and really disappointed and I’m upset.”