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Vieira: “Not by chance”

Interview

April 7, 2019

Vieira: “Not by chance”

In his press conference, Patrick Vieira delighted in the spirit his players showed, after they put in a very professional performance in order to defeat Montpellier (1-0).

Patrick, how would you analyse this victory?

On the whole, I saw a very good Nice side. With hugely focussed players. We suffered in the first 10-15 minutes, the time it took us to understand how to defend their two players up-front. But then we were able to take control. We created real opportunities, we could have scored more this evening. I saw a very attractive Nice team. I may have changed systems slightly too early, which made us sit back. But the important thing was the spirit we showed over the 90 minutes.

Another 1-0 victory, Nice have an awful lot of luck!

I don’t know if we can say that today because we could have scored more goals. In football, we always say that you need to score one more goal than the opposition. To win 1-0 is good, we showed great solidity, with an excellent Walter in goal. The three in front of him, Hérelle - Dante - Sarr were exceptional. It’s the team that allowed us to win the match.

You created lots of chances this evening…

We created chances because we were very good defensively. Up-front Bassem (Srarfi), Allan (Saint-Maximin) and Lamine (Diaby-Fadiga) were very good in their positioning. Unfortunately, in the final 15 metres, we made lots of poor decisions. For Saint-Maximin, the reason that he was on show so much today is because our team worked well. That’s what allowed him to create spaces. He was very good in this team. You always focus on his runs with the ball, but I see the work he does for the team and from this point of view, it is one of his best games at Nice. We weren’t able to score that second goal, but to our defence, there was a lot of tiredness. The guys ran a lot. We lacked clarity, but it’s still encouraging for the future. 

“To work to try to keep our dynamic”

You are now just one point away from OM, two from Saint-Etienne, is the sprint now on?

We could say that. The important thing is to continue our run. If you look at our game against Dijon and the one this evening, we showed defensive solidity and we created chances. It’s encouraging for what’s to come. Not everything was perfect but to win against a good Montpellier side is a good thing. We need to continue to work to keep this dynamic.

You said to us that with hindsight, you may have changed your system slightly too early (with Boscagli coming on for Diaby-Fadiga). What was the goal behind this change?

It was to try to close up the space, to have an extra player in our box from the opposition’s crosses, to eliminateall of the spaces in our box. But in doing so, we gave them possession of the ball. Despite that, we were solid. The players were focussed until the end. Christophe Hérelle progresses and is becoming a leader. 

Is it a surprise for you to be so close to the European places?

At this stage of the season, we aren’t here by chance. The players work hard, they want to succeed. We have had a bit of luck at times, yes, but after so many games, it’s not by chance that we are where we are. The players work a lot and work pays off. There are seven games to go, anything can happen. Our situation is not too bad. We are on a run of two wins, we can hope to do great things, but in football, everything moves quickly. At Rennes, we need to try to give our best. We have nothing to lose, we will try to have a good game and to win it.