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Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis

July 4, 2016
Vieira's coaching methods, tactics just might capture attention of European teams

Patrick Vieira's strategy with NYC FC has been innovative and impressive.
Patrick Vieira's strategy with NYC FC has been innovative and impressive.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

Why do I get the feeling that Patrick Vieira's tenure with New York City FC will be shorter than we think.

No, he is not going to get fired, far from it. But given his strategy, tactics and innovative thinking, you would think the Arsenal legend player and 1998 French World Cup champion will garner some attention from across the pond.

Earlier this year the New York City head coach implemented a unique formation and system that included three or four midfielder and three forwards. In Major League Soccer these days, you just don't see many daring formations like that. We have become accustomed to a pair of strikers or heaven forbid, one lone forward on the road.

It has taken City almost half a season get become more proficient with Vieira's tactics, but slowly, but sure the players have caught on.

Then came Sunday's 2-0 win over the Red Bulls.

Out of the ashes of the 7-0 disaster of a defeat to the Red Bulls in the first game of this year's Hudson River Derby, came a system to combat the visitors' pressing style.

In that May 21 encounter, the Red Bulls made mincemeat out of NYC FC's strategy of building up from the back.

So, Vieira devised a strategy to alleviate and negate the pressure. He used four players on the build-up with one player stationed on the touchline.

It looked so simple, but worked so well.

Don't know if the powers that be at Manchester City, the MLS team's parent club, are watching, or other European side are noticing his approach.

A coach's strategy is only part of the equation that determines success and at this juncture, you can't make predictions of any coach going over to Europe, including Vieira.

Besides, it's only midway through the season and so much can happen.

Ultimately, a coach will be graded on his team's success and whether it is a winning side. In MLS, that can vary, from reaching the playoffs to going far in the postseason to qualifying for MLS Cup and even winning the championship.

Of course, Vieira's star will rise if the team goes deep in the playoffs or wins the title. That's assuming City clinches a berth.

Yet, that kind of forward thinking has got to go a long way with teams looking for coaches with forward thinking.

Hopefully, someone from Manchester or Europe has noticed.

Regardless, I am looking forward to Vieira's next bold piece of strategy, whenever that will happen.
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