David Villa has a clear message about New York City FC’s second season and, for the first time, he’s able to deliver that message in English.
After exclusively speaking to media in his native Spanish previously, NYCFC’s captain addressed reporters on a conference call in English Thursday, briefly reflecting back on the club’s first season in Major League Soccer and looking ahead at Year Two.
There are differences in coaching styles from Jason Kreis to Patrick Vieira, as is the case with any other coach, Villa said. But comparing and contrasting the two is not important.
“Right now, we’re not thinking about Jason Kreis. We say thank you to Jason Kreis for helping last season, but right now we’re thinking about Vieira’s system and what he wants from the team and the players,” Villa said. “Right now the work is good. The guys are happy for the new coach, for the days to work on the pitch and off the pitch. We hope this season will be better.”
Villa believes the team has a better starting point than a year ago because the club is together from the first day of preseason. A year ago, NYCFC introduced six new players, including Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and Andoni Iraola, during the summer transfer window.
“This year is different. We started the first day with these good players, other players, with the team more compact. I think it’s important,” Villa said. “The preseason has been good. We have a lot of time yet until the first game. We hope to be ready for the [opener on the] 6th of March.”
Villa said the work under Vieira has been positive as well. The former French star, who took over as NYCFC head coach in January, has favored a 4-3-3 formation in preseason, which should mean Villa has more support in the attacking third than last year when he was the lone striker for many games under Kreis.
“We work a lot to create our identity of play, like Vieira wants,” Villa said. “I’m very happy for the first days, for the work of the new coaches, the new players and the players who were here last year. In this moment, it’s better than last year.”
So, too, is Villa’s ability to speak English. A year ago, he had an understanding of the language, but wasn’t able to immediate communicate with teammates in preseason. That changed over time with Villa working diligently, taking classes several times a week.
Still, Villa addressed the media in his native Spanish until now.
“Right now it's better for me, it is important for me,” Villa said. “As captain of the team, the club, Patrick and my teammates need me to speak about some things. Right now I can communicate with them.”