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VIEIRA: ‘WE HAVE TO DO OUR BIT’

Interview

April 2, 2020

VIEIRA: ‘WE HAVE TO DO OUR BIT’

Locked down is his home, like half the planet, OGC Nice coach Patrick Vieira is experiencing something new; for the first time in his life, after 43 years devoted to football, the round ball is not his number one priority. When he answered his telephone for this interview, his first words were questions for his caller: ‘How are you and your family?’ The Nice coach then explained how he is coping during this period which has changed the way we live.

Coach, who are you in lock down? 
I’m with my wife and kids. This health crisis has brought the whole word to a standstill. It’s the opportunity to take a step back. We miss football, because it’s our passion, but you have to put things in perspective given what we’re going through.

What do you do with your days? 
It’s important to stay in contact with the club, the players, the coaching staff, sporting director Julien Fournier and the chairman Jean-Pierre Rivère. And I’m also spending time with my family. Like for everyone else, everything has stopped.

Is it hard to think about football during a situation like this? 
Absolutely! Football really takes a back seat at the moment. The most important thing is to understand just how big this pandemic is and that we have to stand united to fight this virus. It’s offensive to talk about football.  I think about everyone who has lost a loved one, and also those in the front line, the doctors and the nurses, but also the supermarket staff etc. they are doing an exceptional job. We should use this moment to recognise the work that others are doing for the community because they are giving more than they are getting. They also need support, both moral and financial. We have to do our bit.

What do you suggest?
There are many ways to help. Start with the activities run by the OGC Nice Endowment Fund. They are helping the Nice public hospital, but also other in need. Everyone should understand that they have a role to do. It’s only by showing solidarity, looking out for one another, that we will defeat this virus. You, me, every citizen has a role to play and we need to do it all the way, right now and also in the future.

How are you staying in touch with your coaching staff and players? 
First of all we check on the players and their families to see how everyone is doing. Then we see how everyone’s morale is, how are they coping during this period. Then, of course, we chat about football. The players are following fitness programmes and I know they are doing it properly. We have also prepared videos for them so that they can study football and improve tactically.

How do you imagine the season going to end? 
I’m not asking myself how and when football will restart, but rather, how will the entire world recover from this. I’m honestly not thinking about the fixture list or finishing the season, but rather, about the victims of this crisis and the social and economic impact it twill have on our society. But to answer your question, I know that the clubs are working on finding the best possible solution. Our chairman Jean-Pierre Rivère has some very good ideas on this matter.