Patrick Vieira sacked as Nice coach after run of defeats

Nice's dismissed coach Patrick Vieira. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 05 December 2020

Patrick Vieira sacked as Nice coach after run of defeats

Patrick Vieira sacked as Nice coach after run of defeats
  • Vieira was a star in the French team that won the 1998 World Cup
  • His assistant, Romanian Adrien Ursea, will take over as coach

MARSEILLE, France:  Patrick Vieira has been sacked as coach of Nice and replaced by his assistant following a run of five consecutive defeats, the French Ligue 1 club announced on Friday.

The final straw for the former Arsenal player and France 1998 World Cup winner was Thursday’s 3-2 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen, which confirmed their elimination from the Europa League.

Adrien Ursea will take over from Vieira. The 53-year-old Romanian, who has spent much of his playing and coaching career in Switzerland, had been an assistant to previous Nice coach Lucien Favre and returned last year to work under Vieira.

“In a meeting after last night’s match, the Nice board informed Patrick Vieira of its decision to put an end to their collaboration,” the club said in a statement.

“Patrick Vieira put all his heart and professionalism into his service for OGC Nice over the last two and a half years.”

Appointed in 2018, Vieira had been under growing pressure after last week’s shock home defeat by struggling Dijon left the ambitious Cote d’Azur club in the bottom half of Ligue 1.

Now 44, Vieira had not worked in France since leaving Cannes for AC Milan in 1995 but joined Nice in June 2018 after two and a half years in charge of MLS side New York City FC.

Before that he had been coaching the development squad at Manchester City, where he ended his playing career in 2011.

Vieira took Nice to seventh in Ligue 1 in his first season and then fifth place and European qualification in the last campaign, which was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

BACKGROUND

  • Vieira had been under growing pressure after last week’s shock home defeat by struggling Dijon left the ambitious Cote d’Azur club in the bottom half of Ligue 1.
  • Before that he had been coaching the development squad at Manchester City, where he ended his playing career in 2011.

Nice had been hoping to build on that and challenge toward the top of the table this season following considerable investment from the club’s owners Ineos.

The group chaired by Monaco-based British petrochemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe took over Nice last year, adding the club to a portfolio of sporting ventures which included Swiss side Lausanne-Sport but also cycling’s Team Ineos, formerly Team Sky.

Ineos, which has also invested in the Mercedes Formula One team and an America’s Cup sailing team, wants Nice to become regulars in European competition, a status that currently appears under threat, even if they are only six points off the top five in Ligue 1 and have a game in hand.

After Thursday’s defeat, which was their fourth in five Europa League group matches, Vieira admitted he was “weakened as any coach who has lost five consecutive games is.”

“We are as disappointed as the supporters,” he said.

Born in Senegal, Vieira was capped 107 times by France between 1997 and 2009.

He came off the bench in their win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final and then played a central role in France’s victory at Euro 2000.

Vieira also played in the team that reached the World Cup final in 2006, while at club level he enjoyed enormous success in nine years under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, winning three Premier League titles.

 


Arteta eyes new signings as Arsenal shed fringe players

Arteta eyes new signings as Arsenal shed fringe players
Updated 22 January 2021

Arteta eyes new signings as Arsenal shed fringe players

Arteta eyes new signings as Arsenal shed fringe players

LONDON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is focusing on potential signings in the January transfer window after trimming his squad but refused to be drawn on a loan move for Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard

Sokratis Papastathopoulos was released from his contract this week, while Mesut Ozil is on the brink of a transfer to Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba have already left on loan deals as Arteta seeks to re-balance his squad.

The Arsenal boss, speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round match at Southampton, would not be drawn on reports linking the club with a loan move for Real’s attacking midfielder Odegaard.

But he said the focus would now turn to the entrance door rather than the exit at the Emirates.

“We are in that process now,” Arteta said on Thursday when asked if it was now time to start bringing players in.

“We have done the first part more or less and we are focusing now on the second phase.

“Obviously this market and the context makes it difficult, but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do.”

Arteta, whose team are FA Cup holders, said the departures had left his squad short in certain areas.

He said a left-back could be on the radar, with the decision to allow Kolasinac to join Schalke until the end of the season leaving him with only Kieran Tierney as a natural option.

“With the departure of Kola we are a little bit short with left-footed fullbacks at the moment,” he added.

Both Ozil and Sokratis were omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads for the first half of the season.

Arteta had stressed several times he was unhappy with the bloated nature of the squad and feels the departures will help him achieve a better balance.

“We could not carry on with 31 players in the squad,” he said. “It is unmanageable. And when you have to leave some of the foreign players out, it makes it even  more difficult.

“To do it for a few weeks is OK, to do it for months and maintain the health, the ambition and the chemistry is really complicated.

“So one of the main objectives was to make some decisions about how we are going to offset that. We have done it.”