New York City appoint 'Norwegian Klopp' Ronny Deila as new head coach
New York City FC have appointed Valerenga and former Celtic boss Ronny Deila as their new manager, the team announced on Monday.
Deila replaces Domenec Torrent, who parted ways with the club in November after his first full season in charge, one in which NYCFC finished atop the Eastern Conference, but fell in the playoffs to Toronto FC. NYCFC had been linked with former Feyenoord manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, but he took up the reins of Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F.
"I'm so excited now to get started with preseason and get going with the team," Deila told ESPN through a team spokesperson. "This opportunity is with a fantastic club, in a fantastic city, and also, it's an opportunity to achieve something, to win something. It's making me almost have goosebumps. I'm really looking forward to getting going, to get started, to get to know the players, and to get the season started."
Deila has been compared to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as both men share the same footballing philosophy and enthusiastic celebrations on the touchline. The Norwegian famously took his clothes and shoes off and ran around in his underwear as manager of Norway's Stromsgodset after they survived relegation on the final day in 2009.
Deila managed Celtic between 2014-16 and won two consecutive league titles and the League Cup during his time in Scotland. He was most recently manager of Norwegian side Valerenga, though the team struggled during the latter half of last season, winning just one of its last 16 league matches.
"We're really happy with the group of players we have coming back and excited about the prospect of what that group can do so we wanted to make sure we found the right head coach," said sporting director David Lee. "We know we have a fantastic team that we believe is ready to win. Ronny is a winner. He won at Stromsgodset. He won at Celtic. We want to lift trophies and Ronny has done that in his career."
Deila inherits a side that currently ranks among the league's elite, though this offseason has witnessed the departures of both Torrent and sporting director Claudio Reyna. It will now be up to Lee and Deila to keep the momentum going.
"It's still a younger club, New York, but they're getting closer and closer," said Deila. "They've been in playoffs now in the last four years and that's great. Now it's just to make the big thing and win it.
"The group of players, as I've heard and as I've seen, have been there for a while and they're ready together. Just to build on that consistency and improving all the time, then I know also the result will come. To take the next step now, to win the title will be a big, big goal for me and for the Club."
Deila will need to get up to speed quickly. NYCFC will begin play in the CONCACAF Champions League against Costa Rican side San Carlos on Feb. 20, so training camp is set to open in mid-January.
The Norwegian stressed he won't be trying to build things from scratch.
"When I come in, it's important to build on what's been built before and try to get some of my ideas across as well," he said. "It's very similar, the way City have played and the way I want to play as well, so just to keep building on what has been. With the consistency and the hard work during the preseason, we'll be ready for the season."