In the final of our four part look at our MLS Award nominees, we turn our attentions to the gaffer.
Patrick Vieira has enjoyed an incredible first season in charge of NYCFC, leading to the team to the MLS Playoffs for the very first time with a second place finish in the Eastern Conference.
More than this, the Frenchman has installed an attractive, attacking philosophy which can be seen every time the team takes to the pitch at Yankee Stadium and on the road.
We caught up with Patrick to discuss his reflections on being nominated for the league’s Coach of the Year award along with Colorado’s Pablo Mastroeni and FC Dallas supremo, Oscar Pareja, as well as his thoughts on coaching at a professional level for the first time.
“I’m really pleased to be nominated – it’s always a nice thing to be recognized,” he said.
“It’s flattering to be nominated as a coach of the season.”
Vieira joined NYCFC at the turn of the year following a successful spell in charge of Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad, the final academy age-group at the Premier League club before the first-team.
While there are a whole host of skills Patrick developed in that time with City’s youngsters, he has found one important element that differs between the two posts.
“I think the pressure is completely different,” he told NYCFC.com.
“When you’re managing the kids it’s all about developing their talents and you’re not really focusing on the mistakes that they make.
“When you are at the professional level every single defeat or win can have an effect on the season and you don’t have as much time to develop the skills.
“You need to go straight away to the result and you are focusing on that.
“In the same way, you don’t want to give away your philosophy – I think the big difference between youth and professional level is the pressure on you.”
A born winner, Patrick admits that the way the season ended in Playoffs defeat to Toronto still hurts.
He felt as though his team were unable to produce the kind of form which clinched second spot in the Eastern Conference but all things considered, Vieira is content with the efforts of his team over the course of the whole season.
“I’m a little bit frustrated and disappointed still because we didn’t perform at a level that I know this team can perform at,” Vieira reflected.
“There is a reason behind it and I need some time to reflect on that. Maybe Toronto were fresher physically and mentally than us but I also have to say that I can’t ask for more from these players than what they gave me.
“They’ve been giving me everything since the first training session on the first day and that’s why I’m a little bit frustrated – we competed against a really good side in Toronto but we weren’t at our level to compete for this type of game.”