Vancouver Whitecaps interim head coach Vanni Sartini hailed his side after the 2-1 victory against Minnesota United cemented their fifth place spot on the Western Conference standings, adding they’re strong enough to face even Real Madrid at the moment.
The Whitecaps are now 7W-2L-3D since interim manager Sartini took over for Marc Dos Santos earlier this season, culminating in their highest placement on the table since May.
Given their four-match unbeaten streak, Sartini is confident his side can take on any competitor.
"I’m walking on the clouds in this moment. I’m so happy, so it’s very good. I would be confident if we played Real Madrid next Tuesday, but ask me the question again in a month," he said.
Whitecaps forward Brian White echoed the manager’s sentiments that the team is confident going into the final push of the regular season before officially qualifying for the MLS playoffs.
“I think there's a real big belief in this group. Obviously, we've had a good run of games recently and I think everyone's kind of bought into Vanni’s tactics, his message, and we've all come together to try to achieve that goal of making the playoffs in this late push here," White explained.
"So credit to all the guys that come out every day to training and every game to really push and I think you're seeing the product on the field.”
But the job isn’t done yet, there are still two important matches remaining before the 2021 campaign comes to a close.
Only two points separate fifth place and eighth place on the Western Conference table, the difference between making the postseason and watching from the sidelines until March 2022.
“I told the guys at the end of this game, 'Fantastic, but we need one more result for sure either against LAFC or against Seattle in order to get into the playoffs. We did a fantastic job the last two months. Since I took over we did 24 points in 12 games, so it’s two points per game,” said Sartini.
“We did fantastically, but it’s not enough yet. We need to get the job done because it would be not doing enough to give this fantastic effort and fall short.”