Ronny Deila looking to make history with NYCFC

NYCFC have never made it beyond the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
NYCFC have never made it beyond the Eastern Conference semi-finals. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila has his sights set on making club history in Tuesday night's Eastern Conference semi-final against the New England Revolution.

NYCFC beat Atlanta United 2-0 in Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs to reach this stage for the fifth time in their seven years in the league.

However, the Cityzens have never been beyond this point. To change that, they'll have to overcome the Revs, who won the Supporters' Shield with an MLS record 73 points during the regular season. But far from intimidated, Deila is expecting big things from his players.

“We've been on a good run now with a lot of good results and good performances. And we want to keep on going,” Deila told reporters in a press conference.

“We believe we can do big things and if we can get through this, it will be the best season ever in the club's history. And that's something we want to achieve, but to do that we have to have a top, top performance and that's what we are focused on every day.”

The Norwegian tactician continued: “I think it's two very good football teams. Every game we are playing against them is very, very even and I expect this game to be very even as well.

“At the same time, they have been very effective this year. They won almost every game they have played. So we need to be at the level we were against Atlanta. If we do that, I think we will match them, and then we have a chance to win and that's my only focus.”

One thing that could play in NYCFC's favor is the huge break since the Revs' last game. Bruce Arena's team haven't kicked a competitive ball since their 1-0 home defeat to Inter Miami on Decision Day, having earned a bye to this round as first seed in the East. As many as nine playoff games have gone by so far without New England's involvement.

In the meantime, NYCFC have already overcome the challenge of Atlanta United. While resting your legs can be helpful, there's no doubting it leaves you suffering from a lack of match sharpness.

But Deila isn't reading into that too much, instead focusing on the things he and his players can control. “That's impossible to say,” he said. “The game has all the answers. We can just control what we can do.”

The winner of Tuesday's clash will take on the Philadelphia Union for a place in the MLS Cup final.