NYCFC forward Santiago Rodriguez insists the club don't feel they have anything to prove, despite making a slow start to the 2022 season.
Expectations were high for Ronny Deila's side after winning MLS Cup in 2021 but a 2-1 defeat to Toronto FC on Saturday leaves them 11th in the Eastern Conference with just one win from their opening five games.
But Rodriguez isn't worried and believes cold patches like these are totally normal, regardless of the quality of a team.
"We don't feel like we need to prove ourselves," the 22-year-old Uruguayan said. "Obviously, we know that we're a very good team, we have the same team as last year. Obviously, we're going through a little bit of a cold streak, but that's normal, every team goes through that at certain points throughout the season."
NYCFC have reached the semi-finals of the Concacaf Champions League, where they face fellow MLS giants Seattle Sounders for the right to play the winner of Pumas and Cruz Azul.
That is proof enough for Rodriguez of his team's quality and now, it's all about building consistency, week after week.
"We're in the semi-finals of the Champions League and that happens for a reason," he continued. "We just want to focus on improving and getting better each week, each game. We know that the good results will come and we don't feel like we need to prove ourselves. We just need to go out there and play our game and we'll let the results speak for itself."
NYCFC play the first leg of their CCL semi-final away in Seattle on Wednesday at 10pm ET.