Gerhard Struber believes New York Red Bulls' upturn in form is the result of new and young players discovering the team's 'clear identity'.
After seemingly falling away in the playoff race, the Red Bulls are now unbeaten in their last seven games.
Struber's side beat NYCFC 1-0 on Sunday - their fourth 1-0 win in five games - thanks to a third-minute Cristian Casseres Jr strike, drawing level with their fierce rivals on 40 points in the process. Just one point now separates them from DC United and CF Montreal in the final two playoff spots.
"Hello, together. First of all, New York is red," Struber said in his opening post-match remarks.
Asked what the secret is behind his team's remarkable revival, Struber revealed it was the result of new players finally adjusting to the Red Bulls' identity.
“Right now, the last few weeks show us, we realize more and more what is our clear identity,” the Austrian manager told reporters (via MLSsoccer.com). “We have so many players, new players that come in the team and we cannot expect that they play from the first second in a style of play with so many rule-breakers in a successful way. It's always that you have some learning moments and my boys learned the last few months in a very hurtful direction sometimes.
“But right now, we are a big step further in our process and this makes the difference. This is the only one.”
The Red Bulls have taken seven points from three games against NYCFC since late September. But as enjoyable as it is exerting dominance over your local rivals, Struber warned that his side have not yet achieved their end goal, which is to make the MLS Cup Playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.
“The big goal is that we step in the playoffs and we have some big to-dos in the next few weeks with big opponents and big battles,” Struber added. “I think right now we enjoy the moment but we know this is not the end. We have to bring constantly performances like that and then I think in the end we stay in the playoffs.”
Up next for the Red Bulls is a key clash against the Columbus Crew, who are just one place and three points further back in the Eastern Conference.