To watch the full video of today's press conference, CLICK HERE.
Skeptical about a foreign manager transitioning to MLS? Got questions about the league's roster constraints? Or coming to grips with the slings and arrows of the outrageous New York media market?
Staring these pressing queries square in the face, New York City gaffer Patrick Vieira is a regular Avon Barksdale.
Specifically, in his inaugural press conference as head coach of NYCFC, Vieira used this phrase when responding to a query about making the famously tough transition from the European game to the peculiar roster structure of MLS.
But to hear him tell it, the former French international and Arsenal legend is only interested in trophies. You won't hear him fretting about any of the fine print.
Indeed, Vieira openly noted the importance of sporting director Claudio Reyna and player recruitment director David Lee in navigating the sui generis rules of Major League Soccer. That means the new gaffer knows he's got a lot of details to learn. It also means there's even more pressure on Reyna-as-MLS-guru than there was last year (we all saw how that went). But don't let anybody tell that the former Man City Elite Development Squad coach doesn't bring some special intangibles with him.
"As soon as he walks into a room..." Reyna effused.
CR: Patrick gives us confidence. #NYCFC
In the brave new world that is the multi-territory model of City Football Group, unanimous organizational trust in the head coach is arguably all the more important. I don't think anyone doubts that the ideal New York City Football Club represents a unique global brand beyond simply being a place for its parent club to stash players and skirt Financial Fair Play (although maybe it's condemned to doing those two things in the shorter term; that's a different question). Today, the World Cup-winning Vieira represents a hard pivot in that most hopeful direction.
Clearly, this man isn't Jason Kreis 2.0. That was the whole point, really; as Reyna continued:
CR: we needed a personality that could lead and could take the pressure. It's important to have a calming influence on the squad. #NYCFC
CR: Vieira can connect with the big players, but also has a record of developing young talent. #NYCFC
Reyna selects his words carefully, and has the kind of stomach for the presumably teeth-grinding trans-national politics of CFG that, in all likelihood, very few human beings possess. But it's hard not to see the shadow of Jason Kreis in these particular remarks. Hell, most random glances pointed at Andrea Pirlo last season didn't find him looking especially engaged-- who wouldn't welcome as your head coach a universally-known soccer figure purportedly able to motivate the hell out of his top talents AND develop the younger players at the same time?
We'll see how much the rhetoric will have mattered once there are games to play. But at the very least, the new coach and the second-year sporting director are as jolted to get the team back on the field as you and I. And they want to do it, as the head coach described it, "the right way."
"I want the team to reflect my personality," he said. He would consider it a mistake, he later noted, to try to copy the style of the Manchester City senior team, or any other.
So, what would a team truly reflective of the hard-charging, eagle-eyed, uproariously talented Patrick Vieira look like? Besides laden with trophies, of course?
Well, the season begins on the 6th of March....
But until then, let's dream, and hard.
PASSIN' & MOVIN'
- Vieira on evaluating his squad as it stands:
PV: Too early to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the team. #NYCFC
- Reyna on the development of Mix Diskerud and Kwadwo Poku:
CR on Mix & Poku: They have a lot to learn. It's important for them to perform at a better level this season. #NYCFC
- Vieira on the same topic:
PV on Mix & Poku: they haven't reached their potential. We'll be putting more on their shoulders this year. #NYCFC