New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira insists his team is not just a mini-Manchester City.
The former midfielder, who played for Arsenal, Juventus, Inter and Manchester City in a trophy-laden career, was officially unveiled as the MLS franchise’s new head coach on Wednesday.
The Frenchman moved into coaching after retiring at Manchester City and has been learning his trade at the Premier League giants, where he has been in charge of the under-21 team.
His appointment as New York head coach marks his first foray into senior coaching and the 39-year-old says he wants to contribute to the club’s unique identity.
“New York has its own identity that is not Manchester City,” he said.
“What would be really important for me is to give a proper identity to the team, to be really clear about how to play in possession or without possession. That will be really important. I would like to see the team reflecting what New York is all about.”
Vieira said he would work closely with the team’s sporting director Claudio Reyna to better understand the rules in the MLS.
“[MLS] is completely different and this is the reason why I need to have Claudio next to me to get me more into details of the rules in this country,” Vieira said. “The last few weeks have been good. I learned a lot. In the draft, it was interesting meeting other coaches in the league, exchanging, talking about the positive and negative of the league.
“It has been a really long learning process for me but it was really good.”
Reyna said he was delighted to be able to work with the two-time Premier League winner.
“I think it is important to have a great leader, someone who commands respect,” Reyna.
“We have instantly in Patrick the presence of that, as soon as he walks into the room.”
Vieira said the MLS expansion club, which endured a mixed debut season as they finished with just 10 wins, was his best option to make the leap into his first senior role.
“Knowing the people in this football club, knowing the project of this football club, the fact that working with people that I trust and to have the project we can work together, that was a massive impact on my decision,” the World Cup winner said.
“Knowing Claudio, playing against him in England, and how successful he wants to build the football club, joining the project was an easy decision for me.
“We are in an industry where results matter and results are really important,” he continued. “We want to win and we want to win trophies by playing the right way.”
Vieira’s first competitive game in charge will come on March 6 when New York travels to the Chicago Fire for their season opener.
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