Gerhard Struber: Red Bulls Will be a Team ‘Ready to Fight for Trophies’

Gerhard Struber

The New York Red Bulls have started their first stage of the preseason, which will be followed by a stint at IMG Academy between March 20 and April 3. Head of Sport Kevin Thelwell and Head Coach Gerhard Struber spoke with the media via video conference after Monday’s training session.

“Today we started with the official training, everyone came in good shape,” Struber said. “I think everyone is ready for an ambitious season. I think we have ambitious goals.”

“We’re in an interesting transfer time,” Struber said. “We have new players that we have to integrate very quickly into our team, and also go step-by-step in a good direction with our identity. I think this is the biggest goal this season is that we produce an identity that, at the end, is very successful with results and that every single player has the right development.”

Struber highlighted that as the team waits for new faces to arrive the key in the preseason will be to bring everyone together as it’s imperative in his philosophy.

“The new players, the old players, they’ll need to work together with our ideas and make a big impact in the game,” he said. “I think in our philosophy -- it’s teamwork, togetherness -- that’s the biggest impact. For that, we need to integrate the philosophy in the next few months. We need patience, a big belief in us.

“I believe in the players that we have in this moment, and I’ll integrate my plan with those players,” he added. “In the end with the whole team, [we need] a big impact. We need the whole team, this is, for my philosophy, the most important thing.”

Struber and his coaching staff look forward to the weeks ahead in which they’ll be able to develop their style of play with the current squad.

“It is very very helpful that we have the time to bring the philosophy in the team,” Struber said. “I think we can remember only [one] week we had for preparation for the playoff game against Columbus that it wasn’t easy, but this is the past,” said Struber. “We’re looking forward to creating a powerful team, to creating a team with the right hunger, and a team that’s ready to fight for trophies. I think this is very important, we have a long-term goal, and it’s clear that with our standards we will play for trophies next time, but I think first of all it’s very important that we bring my game idea in the team.”

As Struber integrates his idea in the team and slowly integrates the new faces, he feels confident that with his experience, he’ll get the team in the right spot ahead of the new season.

“We need time for the players. With new players coming, we have to integrate them, and I have a big experience with developing our philosophy in a team, and this is not for today or tomorrow,” said Struber. “We need time for that, but in the end, I’m very hopeful and have a very good feeling with this team, with my coaching staff. We have everything that we want, and when we bring these boys to this level, then we can speak next time about trophies.”

Thelwell explained why the club opted to add several players on-loan this transfer window and used examples from his time with Wolves as to why RBNY decided to take this route to start 2021.

“I've had very good experience with this sort of model at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League,” Thelwell said. “It’s an opportunity to see how players grow and acclimate, sometimes players find it very easy to move from one country to another. But, of course, we recruited some young players and sometimes they find it difficult. Getting to know them a little bit better, especially at a time where we can't go out and meet them directly and we can't scout them directly. Having that flexibility that allows us to try-before-you-buy, if you want to call it that, is a model I think should be interesting for everybody, especially when we're in the middle of a pandemic.

“We are of course, very confident that these players are going to be capable of doing exactly what we want them to do but of course sometimes they don't quite settled, and it doesn't quite work out so to have that flexibility that allows them the opportunity to feel as if they can settle into life in New York is very important,” he added. “Again, it's a model I've used lots of times before at Wolves when we took Raúl Jiménez and when we took Diogo Jota, players of that sort of level, and it worked very successfully there and I'm sure it can work very successfully here as well.”