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Vieira: “Finish as high as possible”

Nice 3-0 Guingamp

April 28, 2019

Vieira: “Finish as high as possible”

Although very happy with the performance of his side against Guingamp, Patrick Vieira is aware that qualification for the Europa League remains a difficult ask.

Patrick, you must be very happy with your side’s performance…

Yes, I am very happy this afternoon, we put in a complete performance. The defensive aspects, in attack, and the way we played, we were very good.

Rennes’ victory in the Coupe de France yesterday means that 5th place will no longer qualify for Europe, do you think that it is still up for grabs?

After yesterday’s result, it obviously makes things more complicated. But Rennes’ win wasn’t undeserved, they had a very good run in the cup and they deserved their place in the Europa League. We will set our objectives to finish as high up the table as possible.

Youcef Atal got a hat-trick this afternoon…

He is improving. He works a lot. If you look at his goals, you see the agression he has to be in the right place to score. He is a positive character with good spirit. He was rewarded for his efforts. The team allowed him to express himself and to show his talent. We were good in possession and that allowed us to be dangerous. What he has over the others is his desire to get into the box. 

Atal is meant to be a right back, but it’s difficult to imagine pushing him back after performances like this afternoon’s?

It’s the balance of the team that counts. I am happy with Patrick Burner’s performance on the right. You can’t forget that we have also had a lot of injuries. Youcef played in this position when he was younger, it gives us different options for this season and next. But yes, he will almost certainly move back to play against Nantes (Burner will be suspended, Editor’s note).

With matches like this one, one could imagine that you will be bombarded with interest in Atal…

Gilles (Grimandi) has already spoken about this. We aren’t sellers. Youcef will be here next year.

As for Malang Sarr, he is making the left back position his own and is even taking free-kicks!

It wasn’t planned for him to take the free-kicks, but he is in a good spell, full of confidence. He is progressing and to play with someone like Dante at this level makes things easier for the others. As a team, we defended well, we came up against a couple of crosses but we were there and were very solid at the back.

Do you think that you have a chance of finishing in 4th?

It’s very tough but nothing stops us from looking (smiles). In any case, we have nothing to lose. We know that Europe will be very tough to achieve but it’s part of our job to believe and give our all.

Did you fear a sort of demotivation from your side after the events of the last week (defeat against Caen, Rennes’s victory in the cup, comments from the supporters and shareholders)?

No, not at all. We saw the shareholders’ announcement on their future intentions, everything is clear on that level. We are focusing on our end to the season. The banners? Everyone has the right to express their thoughts. I am an employee of OGC Nice, the shareholders were very clear. For me, we all need to be behind OGC Nice to finish our season in the best possible way.