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Vieira: "A positive performance"

Interview

May 4, 2019

Vieira: "A positive performance"

Speaking after the 1-1 draw with PSG at the Parc des Princes, OGC Nice coach Patrick Vieira was full of praise for his side.

Patrick, how do you feel after this match that you could have won, like you could have lost...

My feeling is positive because it’s never easy to get a point at the Parc des Princes, even if scoring that second goal would have given us a little more hope of winning. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that. But we have a point from a positive performance. Tactically we were well-organised and we played well, even if we lacked a little desire in attack.

Are you a little frustrated that Saint-Maximin didn’t score that chance for 2-0?

Yes, we should put chances like that away. Youcef did a great job down the wing, but Allan tried to hit it with the wrong part of his foot and we lacked a bit of luck too as it hit the crossbar. Against a team like Pris, if you can’t score that second goal, you will struggle when they accelerate the play, and that’s what they did.

Do you think Paris would have come back if you’d scored that second goal?

We’ll never know. They might have won 3-2, but perhaps we could also have been more dangerous on the counterattack. We lack a little maturity and experience and we should have done better in certain situations. But both as a team and as individuals, we will learn a lot from this match.

Why did you take off Saint-Maximin?

I wanted to use Mika Le Bihan as a target man, back to goal. We needed to hold onto possession more up front.

We could also say you controlled this match against the French champions...
We did struggle as well because they have some great players. We were well organised and we caused them problems, they struggled to find players between the lines and we defended the crosses well.

Dante caused Paris problems with his long passes. Was that the plan?

First of all it’s due to his quality and his ability to read the play. We knew that there was space in behind them and that Allan and Youcef are very quick.

What can you tell us about Youcef Atal, tonight and over the season?

Today he played well, especially in the second half. In the first half, the team was a little too timid going forward. We stuck to the game plan, but we lacked that little bit extra going forward when we won the ball. It was better after the break. I am very happy with Youcef both on and off the pitch. He is a very hard worker who puts the team first. He works very hard on the pitch and can play full-back or winger. He’s a very positive element. He loves playing and it’s a pleasure to work with him. He is getting better and better, but still has work to do, particularly his defending.

We are focused on our objectives: play well each weekend

Malang Sarr also looks better and better at left-back...

Malang is growing up fast. He has really stepped up in class in recent months, especially in terms of his concentration and desire. Even when he isn’t playing, he’s very positive. He has also improved a lot one-on-one.

How do you judge this PSG side?

They showed character in coming back to equalise. When you play for a big club, when there are no more objectives to play for, it’s not easy for the real competitors. Paris aren’t the only club in this situation. Perhaps we should question the timing of the Coupe de France final because maybe that has an impact on the remaining matches in the league…

What’s happening off the pitch doesn’t seem to be effecting the performance on the pitch...

Despite what’s happening off the pitch, the team is staying focused on its objective: playing well each weekend. We can’t control what happens off the pitch, we just have to wait and see what happens. The owners have been very clear and the squad is calm and determined to finish the season as well as possible.