For Patrick Vieira’s first offseason as the head coach of a senior team, the name of the game is fact-finding.
After spending last week in Manchester meeting with City Football Group’s global brass and consulting with Man City boss Pep Guardiola, NYCFC’s fearless leader is headed for Andalusia to catch a glimpse of punchy Spanish side Sevilla FC, the three-time defending UEFA Europa League Champions.
“I leave after a week in Manchester a better coach – I will use these next two to three weeks to try to improve myself,” Vieira told NYCFC.com. “I will take lots of things with me.”
Sevilla isn’t a bad choice for a second stop on Vieira’s European tour— after leading Chile to a Copa America title on home soil in 2015, manager Jorge Sampaoli was one of three nominees for FIFA World Coach of the Year alongside Barcelona’s Luis Enrique and, yes, Pep Guardiola, who was then at Bayern Munich.
These days, Sampaoli has Sevilla third in La Liga, just two points back of a certain FC Barcelona.
Interestingly enough, Sevilla is the current home of Samir Nasri, the 29 year old attacking man on loan this year from Manchester City. In October, a flurry of tabloids “reported” that Nasri didn’t just desire a move from the Etihad Stadium, where he doesn’t figure into Guardiola’s plans— they insisted that the player fancies a move to NYCFC.
(Well, yeah, and I want a famous blue raincoat and a paid-for luxury suite at the Chelsea Hotel.)
Putting the head-spinning kinetics of the Silly Season aside for as long as we can, this dainty European jaunt will do nothing but benefit Patrick Vieira. The NYCFC majordomo acquitted himself beautifully in his first year in charge of a professional side — this is beyond doubt, particularly given the problematic history of European gaffers jumping to MLS — but the man himself will volunteer the fact that he went into the 2016 campaign with a couple of blind spots.
“For me, the problem was jumping from playing straight in to coach a first team. It’s too difficult,” Vieira told NYCFC.com. “[B]ut one of the reasons I chose New York is that I am still in the City Football Group.”
“You have to choose the right club with the right people.”
Mistakes are part of the game, Patrick.
From where we sit, we’re pretty glad you decided to make them with us.