Nick Cushing | “It’s A Game Of Small Margins.”


Nick Cushing says his New York City side must tighten up defensively on set-pieces, after falling to defeat at Charlotte FC.

The Boys in Blue were edged out in a five-goal thriller in North Carolina, despite twice battling back from a goal down – ultimately undone by a corner and a free-kick at Bank of America Stadium.

While Cushing was impressed with his side’s fighting spirit and offensive threat to claw themselves back into the contest, the Head Coach was left disappointed with the manner of the goals conceded, adding his squad must not gift the opposition such opportunities.

“I was pleased with our performance, and I was pleased with the desire and the soul of the team,” he said.

“Of course, I’m not happy with conceding two goals on the road from set-play – you concede two goals on the road from set-play, and you don’t win football games.

“The guys in the locker room are pretty down and pretty disappointed because everything we wanted to do in the game, we did.

“I thought we carried the game. We dominate the game again away from home, we get into some really good areas, we create some chances – we'd like to create more – but [the own-goal] is unfortunate.

“It's not Richy [Ledezma]’s fault – it’s a moment in the game, and of course we want to be better on set-plays. That's the one area that if we're better in this game, we win the game.

“We carry 60% of the ball, we’re dictating the game for the majority – maybe the first 10, 15, 20 minutes we didn't, but for the rest of the game, we carry the game.

“They change their shape to five. I know their coach [Christian Lattanzio] very well, and I know the way he wants to play, and it's not five and four on the top of his box.

“I was really pleased with the leadership of James Sands, Keaton Parks, Thiago Martins, Gabriel Pereira… Those guys were really pushing the team, and I was pleased.

“I said to the guys: we play like that on the road, and we tighten those real small things like giving silly free-kicks away, and giving corners away… Look at the goals – the first goal we're disappointed with, but tactically it’s the goal Charlotte want, and we can improve in that area.

“Then we score, we miss the kick-off, and then they score off a set-play. We have to tighten up in that area because it's a cheap goal. Then we play, and we dictate the game, and then we give a cheap foul where they put another set-play in, and we concede the goal.

“There are two areas of the game that I think we can improve: one is set-play – we have to get better. You cannot give two goals away, away from home and expect to win football games.

“The second one is to create clear chances. If we create chances from the moments that we have, then we'll win football games, but I was pleased with our offensive game today. I just want more because I always will.

“The nature of our league is: home advantage is a big plus for you, so we know the away games are more complex, but I was really pleased with the performance, and the reaction from a Toronto performance that was a little bit flat, and not as sharp as we would want.

“I don't see a team that is trying not to win – I see the complete opposite: I see a team that is desperate to win.

“Ultimately, I’ve said to the guys, and I will continue to say: I've been pleased with the desire – you can see a team that has a huge desire to win a football game, whether it's at home or away.

“It’s small moments, but the the margins are so small in our league, and home advantage means that if you give those moments, you give teams momentum – but if we play like that away from home over and over again, we'll win football games.”

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