It was March 6 and Patrick Vieira was making his managerial debut with New York City Football Club.
One month and two days later, NYCFC players are raving about the difference Vieira has made – both tactically in games as well as in training.
“I’ve had three coaches in my professional career in MLS and each one has been different,” forward Patrick Mullins said. “He brings a certain style that I haven’t seen in terms of what he demands of you on the field and even so off the field.”
Mullins said the biggest difference with Vieira is on the training ground.
“Most of the technical things are all the same,” Mullins said. “But I think how he divides the training session into certain areas and aspects of the field, where you’re working with the back four plus the holding mid and that might be it and forwards are working on finishing or vice versa. That’s something we do a lot of.”
Vieira has also changed things up tactically on game day, utilizing several different formations in the first month of the regular season, all of which highlight an exciting, attacking brand of soccer.
“A two-way player can help out defensively and then get into the box as much as possible,” midfielder Mix Diskerud said. “You get freedom within certain boundaries you can say. It’s a fun style we are trying to play, keeping the ball, keeping it on the ground and one and two touches. That’s the beautiful game of soccer.”
Under the guidance of Vieira, a legendary midfielder and World Cup winner with the French National Team, Diskerud is playing his natural position in the center of midfield. It has resulted in a strong start to the United States international’s second season in Major League Soccer with one goal and two assists in three starts.
“He’s a person who has experienced a lot in his soccer career. Everything he says I can adapt to it and I could understand because he was a midfielder,” Diskerud said. “It’s tremendous for me to soak up everything and learn as much as possible. It’s worked for me and I just want to keep listening to him because that seems to be good advice he gives me.”