CHARLOTTE – Charlotte FC interim head coach Christian Lattanzio has had the responsibility this week of helping his players transition to a new coaching style and methodology as smoothly as possible. How has he approached this? By focusing on the individual, the human behind the player.
“For me what comes first is the person, then the player. And therefore, I have to make sure that the person is fine, that the individual is fine.”
But despite the coaching changes, the expectations of the team remain the same – to remain competitive.
“My expectations of the team are to be competitive from the first to the last minute and to try and impose our game. No coach can guarantee the result, not even the biggest coaches on the biggest teams. What we have to focus on is the performance and the process.”
“On that, I think us and the players have kind of certain control. The intensity we put, the organization that we have, how we support each other on the pitch. And so, my expectations are that we will go and compete against everybody, everywhere.”
Lattanzio’s first challenge will be against a team he became all too familiarized with during his time as an assistant at New York City FC, the New York Red Bulls. It’s also a team that the Club knows well as it was them who crushed the Crown's U.S. Open Cup dreams not too long ago.
“Red Bull is a really good team with a philosophy and clear way of playing that they’ve developed over the years in one of the biggest football groups in the world... They are a group that I respect a lot because they have a clear philosophy of playing.
“At the same time, I believe in my players and I think we can give them a game. We are looking forward to meeting them again. They were physical with us like they are physical with everyone, it is part of their DNA as a club.
“But we want to respond to the physical challenge but at the same time to try and impose our game.”
However, Lattanzio and his players will not be alone in their effort against the Red Bulls this time around. They will have the backing of 30,000 plus fans behind them at Bank of America Stadium this Saturday.
“I think this fanbase, and I’ve said this from day one, is one of the best I’ve seen. Honestly. The atmosphere that they generate in the stadium is something magical. Even starting with the anthem that became iconic already after a few weeks.
“The atmosphere, and I’ve been in a few stadiums over the years, is really joyous. It feels like a party, I know it was said in a phrase, but it really does feel like a party. And also some players I know that play in different teams, when they play here, they said the same thing. It’s something completely different from any other stadium.
“They [players] have a lot of fun to play in front of them [fans]. They love to play here, they really do. They can’t wait to come to the stadium to make them happy, sometimes we succeed in that and sometimes not in terms of results, but we will give everything for them. Because it’s one of the big plusses for MLS, is to have Charlotte and the fanbase involved in this league.”