Patrick Vieira: NYC FC want to please the fans

NYC FC manager and retired France legend Patrick Vieira talks about the start to NYC FC's season, the development of the MLS and Manchester City's season.

Posted: Apr 19, 2018 5:35 AM
Updated: Apr 19, 2018 5:37 AM

With the odd exception or two, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City blew away all who crossed their path on the way to lifting this season's Premier League title, playing a brand of football which was as effective as it was mesmerizing.

It's a philosophy which runs through the core of the City Football Group, the Abu Dhabi-founded company which, alongside City, also owns MLS side New York City FC and a number of other clubs around the world.

"I've been part of the City Group, we want to play positive football, a positive game, attacking minded, trying to win games and what is really important is that we want to give pleasure to the fans who are coming to watch us play," NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira told CNN Sport's Alex Thomas on Wednesday.

NYCFC currently top the MLS Eastern Conference thanks to an unbeaten start to the season and, having observed Guardiola at work in Manchester in an attempt to glean as much knowledge as possible from the Spaniard, Vieira aims to implement a similar fluid style of football which has this season gained unanimous praise in England.

"I've been really privileged to play under some of the best managers in the world, really privileged to be part of the City Group and privileged, of course, to spend some time with Pep," the former French international, who played for AC Milan, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Juventus and also City, said.

"To try to understand his philosophy and with my experience as a player I've been learning a lot.

READ: How Pep Guardiola's Man City won the Premier League title

'Invincibles'

Vieira was captain of Arsenal's famous "Invincibles" team, the side which went an entire season unbeaten on the way to lifting the 2002/03 Premier League title.

Having played for what is widely regarded as one of the Premier League era's greatest ever sides, the 41-year-old Vieira is acutely aware of the importance an attractive brand of football is to those watching in the stands.

"It's not just about myself, it's about all the football fans, people that just enjoy the game. I think everybody who has just been watching City has enjoyed watching their games of football," he said.

"The way that this team has been playing this season has been fantastic. I think every single soccer fan enjoyed watching City.

"The approach of Pep and his team has been really good this year."

READ: Senegal's football dream house

'One step backwards'

MLS has made significant strides in recent years to improve its quality and break away from the perception that it was a retirement home for Europe's aging stars, though US Soccer's reputation did suffer a blow in its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

"I think it is just one step backwards, because of course you want the national team to be at the World Cup to promote the league and the quality of the players that are playing in that league," he said.

"The league is improving every year. I think you just have to look at the quality of young players coming into the league. You know, you just have to look at the last game we played at Atlanta.

"Look at the stadium, the atmosphere and the quality of the players on the field. It is a really competitive league and more this year than it was in the previous year and that is really good for the league."

Efforts to recruit young and exciting South American talent, spearheaded by Atlanta United last season, has also helped made the league more dynamic.

When Vieira's NYCFC visited Atlanta on Sunday, playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw, the two sides between them boasted five of the league's most exciting young players.

READ: Playing in Atlanta United's 'mind-blowing' $1.5 billion new home

The French coach believes Sunday's opponents have raised the bar and set a new standard for all MLS teams to follow.

Last season, Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium four times broke the MLS record for the best attended match and also set a new average season attendance record.

The club has cultivated a fan culture like no other in MLS, combining a sensible pricing policy for food and drink while also tapping into the local community's passion by getting fans to help design the badge.

"I think Atlanta raised the level of the quality of the stadium and the quality of the fans really quite high," Vieira says.

"They are doing really well promoting MLS around the world and I think when you play in Europe look at the quality of players, but look at the atmosphere in the stadiums and I think that gives you the desire to come and play in the MLS. This is really good for the league."

'Working hard'

Sunday's draw extended NYCFC's unbeaten start to 2018 to seven games and already puts them four points ahead of their nearest rivals, Atlanta United.

Vieira, however delighted with the way his team is playing, is refusing to get ahead of himself.

READ: Patrick Vieira looks to build a 'special' legacy in New York

"Of course we are really pleased, but at the same time we also know that it's just the start of the league," he says cautiously.

"There's still a really long way to go but we are really pleased with the way we are playing the game and the way that we are working hard for each other.

"What is really important for me is that the players are enjoying themselves on the field and they are enjoying playing together and that's really good for me as a coach."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35712

Reported Deaths: 2207
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10037594
Lake3806202
Allen174371
Cass15927
Elkhart143529
St. Joseph132035
Hamilton118094
Hendricks118074
Johnson1120110
Madison59761
Porter55329
Clark52841
Bartholomew52238
Howard43734
LaPorte43624
Tippecanoe4214
Shelby39822
Jackson3942
Delaware38740
Hancock34928
Floyd32140
Boone31835
Vanderburgh2902
Morgan28324
Noble25121
Montgomery24417
Clinton2401
White2389
Decatur23031
Grant22123
Dubois2053
Harrison19622
Henry18412
Vigo1758
Greene17125
Dearborn17021
Monroe17012
Warrick16728
Kosciusko1661
Lawrence16524
Marshall1472
Miami1411
Putnam1377
Orange13122
Jennings1314
Scott1223
Franklin1158
Ripley1086
LaGrange1022
Daviess9516
Carroll933
Steuben872
Wayne865
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper701
Jay530
Clay522
Washington511
Rush503
Randolph503
Fulton501
Pulaski490
Jefferson471
Whitley443
DeKalb431
Starke393
Sullivan371
Owen341
Perry340
Huntington342
Brown331
Benton320
Wells320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams201
Gibson182
Parke180
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin120
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0175

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36792

Reported Deaths: 2300
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6112290
Cuyahoga4669247
Hamilton2739164
Marion267931
Lucas2296256
Pickaway209537
Summit1487181
Mahoning1463188
Butler93333
Columbiana88952
Stark75299
Lorain70960
Montgomery69516
Trumbull58451
Belmont43914
Warren39021
Medina36623
Miami36230
Tuscarawas3604
Ashtabula34537
Delaware34414
Portage33257
Lake31812
Fairfield3108
Clark3067
Wood30348
Geauga29533
Wayne28851
Licking26510
Mercer2207
Clermont2165
Allen21433
Richland2093
Darke18423
Erie18216
Madison1627
Washington11819
Crawford1174
Morrow1071
Ottawa10217
Greene1025
Putnam9514
Sandusky8512
Monroe7914
Auglaize763
Ross732
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Hardin640
Huron601
Williams561
Union551
Muskingum521
Hancock511
Shelby463
Holmes463
Clinton451
Fulton450
Wyandot442
Coshocton400
Logan400
Fayette400
Preble391
Guernsey362
Defiance342
Carroll313
Brown301
Lawrence300
Champaign281
Highland261
Knox251
Seneca242
Vinton212
Ashland210
Perry191
Athens181
Henry170
Scioto170
Paulding140
Jackson140
Adams101
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Noble60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 75°
Huntington
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 81°
Warm & Humid Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events