New York Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch
Can you talk about Alex Muyl’s play tonight?
JESSE MARSCH: Everyone respects Alex so much for all the hard work he puts in and what an intelligent player he is and he's one of the best tactical players we have. He's hard on himself that he doesn't put together enough final plays and I keep saying to him, relax. That part comes and I've seen him enough in training and watched him enough over the last few years to know that he has quality.
For him, it's a lot about some confidence and belief in himself and slowing himself down to make some of those plays. Yeah, a very good goal and a very, very good assist. So you know, if Alex can continue to put that piece together, then he can become a real complete player, which in many ways he already is.
So he's an important guy here, and he has to remain patient at times because we've used different guys at different times and we'll use him at different moments but he's very important around here and really happy for him.
Q. Bradley Wright-Phillips is notoriously a slow starter and seems like this year everything he touches turns to gold. How do you explain that this year?
JESSE MARSCH: You know, it was tricky on him last year because he had the baby in the beginning of preseason and didn't really get to get himself going. This year, he came in really fit, ready to go. Obviously we've had to put some high demands on him early in the year in some big games and he's responded. We all know how good Brad is.
So it's obviously a very good sign that this early on, he's so sharp and so lethal and now the key for me is trying to always get the balance right so that we're not running him into the ground and make sure that he's fresh week-after-week, so you know, Brad always wants to play, he always wants to train. He's one of the most amazing people to be around.
He's just humble and hard-working, but we've got to make sure that we really equip him physically where everything he needs to have a productive, long season, and you know, I think he's even adjusted what he does off the field and his lifestyle, and he made sure that from every perspective, that he prepares himself to play and be fit. So, yeah, I mean, Brad is special. He's so special. When you see nights like tonight, you see the kind of goals he can score, we're really lucky to have him. Really lucky to have him.
Q. How big was it, that full week to prepare for this game?
JESSE MARSCH: I think from a physical perspective and a tactical perspective, it was good to just be able sort of work through what we wanted to get out of a game and how to prepare for an opponent, and I thought the execution for the most part was very good, very good. And then our team's taken a lot of pride this year on trying to get clean sheets.
So it's something that we have kind of taken from Ranieri when he was at Leicester. When he had clean sheets, they would have pizza parties. So there's pizza and beer in the locker room; so the guys get that for every four clean sheets we have in all competitions.
We're trying to find ways -- you can see at the end of the game, the pride that the team had to make sure that we were not going to give up a goal, Luis with a huge save but guys running back, doing whatever they can to make sure they weren't going to give one up.
Q. The CCL, do you feel that's helped prepare --
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, what it's done is it's forced us to come in, you know, forced the guys to come in fit and get ourselves prepared, have urgency every day and commit to making sure we're getting better every day, and I'll tell you, it has not been easy because the weather has been really bad.
We've had to train on turf at times, cold fields, windy, snowy, whatever. But the concentration from every guy has been at a really high level so it's kind of allowed us to continue to squeeze as much out of every day as we possibly can.
You know, we like our group, okay. We've got a long way to go yet. I think this group is just starting to come together and has a lot more to go to progress and be the team we think it can be, but obviously there's some early really good early signs.
Q. Parker, the second goal, since he's arrived, it's been a seamless transition. Don't think he's made a mistake yet. What have you seen from him and how has he made the transition so easy?
JESSE MARSCH: Well, you know, a big credit goes to Tim. He's a good player. He's taken on the challenge of being here in a big way. He's trying to learn every day what we do and how we do it, and then, you know, the reason why we want him and have been seeking him for so long is because we just feel like he fits us.
He fits us from a style of play perspective, a physical perspective, a mentality perspective; obviously being a local kid. There's a lot of ways that you can really look at it and go, this is going to be perfect.
So yeah, I mean, you know, he's come in, he's been really eager to try to adapt and learn the way we do things and obviously he's helped in a major way.
With him, now you start to feel like our defensive group is the best we've ever had, and if we can get that piece right, then I think this team will always be dangerous. So yeah, I mean, we still have a long way to go with him and with his adaptation but the early signs have been really good.
Q. On Alex, you touched on it before but he's been criticized quite a bit from the media, myself included. He doesn't seem to bring enough to the attack. How do you get more games like today out of him? Is that a confidence thing?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, it is a confidence thing. It's a maturity thing. It's a bit of a process for him. You know, it's funny because obviously around here, we were big fans of Leipzig we watched him a lot and we talked with the people over there a lot, and the guy they have over there is a guy named Yussuf Poulsen and he doesn't always score a lot of goals and doesn't always add up to a lot of final plays, but they always say he's one of their most players.
We think that about, Alex, right. He doesn't always get the headlines and he doesn't always get the accolades and goals, but in terms of setting the standard of how we want the game to be played tactically and philosophically, he's incredibly important, and he often frees up space for our other, more talented, like scorers and things like that because he can harbor a lot of the workload, draw attention at times, and do the dirty work for them to now score goals and set plays up.
Obviously, yes, the better that he can be at having -- the more he can have games like tonight, the better it is for him and the better it is for the team, and he'll get there, there's no doubt.
Q. The international break --
JESSE MARSCH: To be fair, the league asks us before the season starts, like what days would we rather play, midweek games or international break games. So we often get to have some input as to when we would like to play and how many international dates we'd like to play.
I know as a league, it's not perfect, right. I think we'd all like to get to a place where the league shuts down like most leagues during the FIFA breaks, but for us we feel like we have a deep team and we like having more breaks in between because we put such a physical demand on our players.
So any time -- you know, I think I've shown enough that I believe in our full roster. Every coach says they believe in their full roster but then every coach plays their full roster. I think in the careers I've been here, I've done that a lot and given a lot of guys opportunity and for me that's part of their progression.
In these dates, other guys get chances to play. Like Kyle did you know can, we've had three league games and he's had three league starts and coming into the year, I don't think anyone would have predicted that. But it's a good chance for him to get a taste of what this is really about and as the year goes, I think he'll be stronger for it.
Q. How difficult is it to put a lineup together week-after-week after the performance that you've been getting from all of these players?
JESSE MARSCH: Yeah, I mean, that's the key I think and that's what we try to create here is a roster that pushes each other, that challenges each other, that shows that any guy can step up and do the job, and so that means internally, there's a lot of competition.
I think there's a lot of respect within the team for their teammates and for each other. You know, they go about competing with each other every day in a really good way but any good team has to have that. I think that we've put together a roster that does that in a big way and I think that most guys are really clear when they step on the field.
You know, with a really -- with a lot of if you guys in the group and a young group and everything else, it's really nice to see our team continue to really look like us.
Last week we didn't feel that we were quite as succinct and clear as we would have liked. We talked about a lot of things to make sure that when we came out tonight that we stuck to what we wanted to achieve and play the way we want to play, and I thought we did a good job.
Q. This week there's a lot of talk about most underrated, most overrated.
JESSE MARSCH: I didn't get all that, but did Brad fit in any of those?
Q. My point is, early in his career, people gave credit -- then Sacha comes in and helped set him up. Seemed like he wouldn't get as much credit maybe as he deserves. Is this a year where people will start to realize he's that good and it's not just the other people?
JESSE MARSCH: There is this perception that Brad is not one of the premiere players in this league, which, you know, Brad got a couple of shots in on him early in the game, and -- he gets the call, like why doesn't Bradley Wright-Phillips garner the respect of the premier players of this league? You could make an argument that he is the best player to ever play in this league and the best goal scorer to ever play this this league and he should be treated as such, okay, by everyone, including referees. If we are talking about protecting the star players and making sure that we're protecting attacking players; I've made this argument for four years with Brad, that he doesn't get the respect that he deserves.
But I don't think he gives a damn. He's just going to go out and do his thing and show every day what he's about. So, yeah, I mean, he's incredible. He's incredible.
He should be underrated. He should be the most underrated player in league history. That should be his monicker because he proves every night how good he is.
Q. Quickly, are you still amazed on some of the goals he scores, especially that second one? Alex made that great pass to him, and the way he converted that second goal.
JESSE MARSCH: Reminded me of the Philly goal a couple years ago he just buried. That's the remarkable thing is he has so many different ways of scoring goals. I've seen him chip Blake on the one and run around him. At first I thought he was dribbling around to the right and so did Lampson and then he just found a way to put it right in the upper corner.
Yeah, he's incredible. He can score with his head and offset pieces and he can score with speed, with cleverness, with his left foot, just about anyway, and he could have had a hat trick when he hit the post, right.
Q. I hate to ask you this, but the tackle he suffered -- did you think that was a yellow?
JESSE MARSCH: No, I thought it was a red but then they went to the VAR and the VAR confirmed it was a yellow. Did you guys think it was a red? Looked like a two-footed tackle.