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New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila insisted he was not out for revenge as his side prepare to make the short trip to New York Red Bulls.

The visitors are winless in four games and sit only three points above their local rivals as their playoff position appears threatened by Atlanta United, who are just a point behind sixth place.

Deila’s side began their poor run of form in back-to-back meetings with the Red Bulls, games in which they saw contentious decisions go against them.

However, the Norwegian head coach quashed claims that his team would be out for revenge against their neighbors.

“I can’t use energy on that now,” Deila told media when asked about the ill-will from that match. “When you bring it up, I get irritated, but I don’t use energy on it. It’s done.

“It’s a local derby, I don’t think there’s any problem to get them going. It’s a big challenge for us, we need to get a victory against them.

“I know we can do it, it means a lot. When you look at the standings, every point matters. Motivation is not a problem.”

The Red Bulls, who have not lost this derby in five home games, have managed three clean sheets in their last four games as they continue their late surge in the Eastern Conference.

And head coach Gerhard Struber labeled the next clash as a must-win fixture if his side are to stand any chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

“We can win this game with all of our power, but we have big respect for a massive opponent,” Struber said.

“I can feel my boys always have high motivation. In training, in the games. But the fans help with big inspiration. I think our supporters are in a big heart with us.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Red Bulls – Patryk Klimala

Patryk Klimala has been the catalyst for the Red Bulls’ upturn in form, scoring three goals on their current unbeaten run – including his team-leading eighth of the year last Saturday.

New York City FC – Valentin Castellanos

Valentin Castellanos has scored four times against the Red Bulls, though the forward is without a goal against any opponents since September 22. Deila will be banking on the Argentine to inspire his side to return to form as soon as possible.

KEY OPTA FACTS

·The Red Bulls lead the all-time series in the Hudson River Derby with 11 wins to New York City’s six with three draws in all competitions. The Red Bulls won six of the first seven meetings (L1) but the last 13 have been split, with each side winning five (D3).

·The Red Bulls enter the derby on a six-match unbeaten run (W4 D2) that includes a win and a draw against NYCFC. The Red Bulls haven’t had a longer run without a loss in MLS play in a single season since going unbeaten in the final 16 matches of the 2016 season (W9 D7).

·New York City FC is on a season-high four-match winless run (D2 L2) that includes a loss and a draw against the Red Bulls. NYCFC has taken just nine points in its last 10 games (W2 D3 L5), they haven’t had a worse single season run since July-September 2015 (8 points).

·Only Seattle (19 times) has opened the scoring more times than the Red Bulls (18) this season. It’s a good thing the Red Bulls score first often, because they’ve collected just two points from losing positions all season, tied with LAFC for fewest in MLS.

·Valentín Castellanos has been involved in 11 of NYCFC’s 14 goals since the start of August (8 goals, 3 assists). Only Ola Kamara (13) has been involved in more in that time.

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