Gerhard Struber says his New York Red Bulls side have learned the value of resilience after extending their unbeaten run to five games.
Having previously appeared out of the playoff race, the Red Bulls beat FC Cincinnati 1-0 away on Saturday to make it 11 points from five games. As a result, they're now just two places and six points adrift of CF Montreal in seventh with a game in hand.
This five-game upturn - extended by a strike from former Cincinnati left-back Andrew Gutman - comes after the Red Bulls won just two of their previous 14 MLS matches.
Speaking to reporters after Saturday's match (via Once A Metro), Struber praised his players for sticking together to put those struggles behind them.
“I think this was always a good key in our hands, in our spirits, and our togetherness is always on the right way and now, we realize in away games the right results,” said the Austrian tactician.
“Now, we have a fifth game without a loss, the next win and my boys understand more and more how important resilience is in difficult moments and also, that you never give up in a game like that. I think I told my boys that we need to take a long breath and we need in the end, maybe the goal in the last minute.”
“We have to believe in that, and I think the whole team worked hard in this direction with a big focus in rest defence with a good focus in our structure and in our behaviour when we come on the ball and win the ball."
Though things are improving, the Red Bulls have only scored more than one goal in a single game once in their last 12 outings - doing so in a 4-0 win away at Inter Miami in mid-September.
Struber admits his side have more to work on, specifically highlighting their ability to execute transitions.
"I think we can always improve something," he added. "Especially today, we can play transitions cleaner and clearer and, in the end, with more success. I think we have to improve that more, but right now we are so happy with these three points.”
Up next for the Red Bulls is a home tie against Inter Miami on Saturday before hosting Hudson River derby rivals NYCFC the following weekend.