(NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira and Sporting Director Claudio Reyna – Photo courtesy of NYC FC)
New York City Football Club introduced Patrick Vieira as their new head coach at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Vieira is one of the most accomplished European soccer players ever. He captained the French National team and was part of their World Cup championship team in 1998. He also won a UEFA European Championship with France in 2000.
In league competition, he played for Arsenal and Manchester City in England, and Inter Milan and Juvetus in Italy.
Vieira played for Arsenal from 1996 to 2005, and won three English Premier League titles and five FA Cup titles with them. He was a member of perhaps the greatest team ever, the 2003-04 Arsenal team that went undefeated in the English Premier League and earned the title of the Invincibles.
He played for Juventus for one season, 2005-06 and they won the Serie A championship. He then moved on to Inter Milan, where he won three straight Serie A titles, in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He was let go from Inter in January 2010, just months before they won the Champions League.
In January 2010, he joined Manchester City, where he helped them win an FA Cup in 2010-11.
After he retired, he took over as head coach of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City Football Club.
Vieira, who signed a three-year contract with NYC FC, said at the start of the press conference, “It’s a real exciting day for myself and the football club. I have been here the last two weeks and it’s real exciting. I can’t wait to start the pre-season and we have a real exciting season ahead and I am really looking forward to a successful season.”
Vieira said of New York City and how that relates to the team, “I would like to see the team reflecting what New York is all about. I am really passionate about this city. Anytime I come in on holiday to this city, I find it really determined. New York is really lively, it’s full of energy in this city and I would like my team to reflect what New York is all about. I would like my team to be full of energy, so I will ask my players, my team to be full of energy, to be lively, and to have a really positive attitude.”
On his coaching philosophy, Vieira said, “What is important for me is to know who I am as a coach and as a manager. I want the team to reflect my personality, who I am as a person as well, so I have great experience as a player, and I will use that experience to try to get the best out of the players.”
NYC FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna said of hiring Vieira, “I think it was important to have a great leader, someone who commands respect. We have that instantly with Patrick when he walks into a room. The ability to communicate with big players since he played at the highest levels, while having the commitment to develop younger ones. All those boxes he’s ticked, and his desire to succeed, his confidence without being arrogant, his willingness to really also listen to his staff, and I have seen that in the three, four weeks that we’ve been together. The confidence he has in taking this role – he’s absolutely more than ready and we’re really excited to have him.
“The process, there was a great comfort in him coming from City Football Group. There was a lot of candidates, a lot of interest come to our club and be part of City Football Group. You know, the insight into how much we knew how Patrick worked on and off the field gave us all that confidence that he was the right guy,” said Reyna.
Vieira said of staying within the Manchester City organization, City Football Group, “Knowing the people in this football club, the progress of this football club, working with people who have trust and the ability to work together, that was a massive impact on my decision. Knowing Claudio from playing against him, the way he sees the game, and how successful he wants to build this football club, to be part of this project made it a very easy decision for me.”
Vieira said of coaching NYC FC’s international legends, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and David Villa, and what he can use from playing against them in Europe, “Really pleased and really happy to be able to manage these three players because, yes, I played against them and they are fantastic players, but overall, I think they are winners, and that’s why they will play a massive part to play in our success. They are here to bring the experience and they still want to win, and that is for me really important. I just look forward to working with them.”
Reyna said of discussions on NYC FC’s expectations for the 2016 season, “I think we both want to succeed as soon as possible. We also are aware that there’s a lot of work to be done. I think we have to focus on ourselves, and the first thing we’ve gone is strengthen the team and we plan on being done with that in the next couple weeks.
“We don’t want to come out and make any bold predictions, but we’re confident with the team we have that there’ll be improvement in the way we play, in the overall togetherness and unity of the club and, having disappointment last year for any player who’s had that and for anyone in this club, we want to get that right, so we’re really looking forward to it. We learned quite a bit as a club last year and we’re ready to go for this season,” said Reyna.
Vieira said of what to expect in 2016, “We’re in an industry where results matter, the result is beyond important. I truly believe that if we work hard, if we get the result, we will be really happy. It will be really important for us to win games, to win trophies – it’s important because people judge you by what you won and what is important for us is to give our best, to work hard, and to have a style of play. We want to win trophies by playing the right way.”
On what he learned from the managers he played for in Europe, Vieira said, “It would take all day to go through all the managers and what they did really well, but something that I really liked about (Jose) Mourinho (at Inter Milan) was his preparation before the game. He was giving players information about the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing team. I quite like Arsene Wenger (at Arsenal) with the freedoms that he was giving the players to express themselves on the field. I liked (Roberto) Mancini’s passion and desire that he was showing when he was on the bench (at Manchester City). At the same time, I like (current Manchester City Manager Manuel) Pellegrini, the calm that he’s showing when he’s on the bench.
“I’ve been really lucky playing under managers and spending time learning from them. The important thing for me is to be myself and not copy anybody else because that would be the biggest mistake I could make,” said Vieira.
Vieira said of coaching in MLS, which is different than the other leagues throughout the world, and why he thinks he can be successful here, “I think it’s because I’m a very positive person and I’m really ambitious. I know that I’m surrounded by Claudio (Reyna), who played in Europe. I’m not going to have anybody better than Claudio to help me and support me during the season. I’ve been working the last few weeks about the league. I spent time at the Draft talking to coaches, so I know what to expect and will be ready for the start of the season.”
On if he spoke to anybody to prepare to move to MLS and what he can expect, Vieira said, “Not really, to be honest. That is something I really wanted to do, of course, I have friends who played in the league. I have been watching games the past few years, and when I cam last year, and watched the game against the Red Bulls and saw the passion of the fans in the stadium, that had a massive impact on the decision that I made. It was a really easy decision for me because of the people that I have around me to give me the support that I need.”
On NYC FC’s strengths and weaknesses, Vieira said, “I think it will be too early for me to talk about strength and weakness, and I think I will be more ready to talk about it in the preseason when I will have evaluated the development of the team. Of course, talking with Claudio (Reyna) and looking at the roster, we know which part of the game that we need to improve, but I think we need to take we will take longer until we speak to you guys.”
Vieira said of his thoughts on how MLS is conducted, in terms of the Draft and salary allocations, “It’s completely different and this the reason why it is important to have Claudio next to me to explain the details of the rules of this country. These three weeks have been really good, the Draft was especially interesting, meeting with the coaches in the league, exchange, talking about the positives and negatives about the league. It’s been a long, learning process for me, and I really enjoyed the Draft.”