In the summer of this year, Patrick Vieira could well become the head of Fulham. He passed an interview in this club, having talked with the management, which was just looking for a new mentor for the team to replace Scott Parker, under whose leadership the “summer residents” dived into the Championship. The British press reported that Fulham was indeed very interested in nominating Vieira, but after an interview, the club’s bosses decided that the Frenchman did not know as much about the players and the history of the club as the leaders would like to see. As a result, Fulham appointed 44-year-old Portuguese Mark Silva.
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Patrick Vieira, however, also did not stay out of work for a long time. After Fulham, he was summoned to talk by Steve Parish, head of Crystal Palace. “Glaziers” just warmly said goodbye to Roy Hodgson, who had decided to retire, and were in search of a new head coach. Before Vieira, Parish managed to negotiate with Nuno Espirito Santo, but the Portuguese expressed a desire to transfer with him from Wolverhampton the entire team of assistants, consisting of seven or eight people. Vieira expressed his readiness to work in the existing structure, on the creation and improvement of which Parish spent several years. As a result, Crystal Palace and its boss opted for the Frenchman, in whom simplicity won over.
However, while inside Crystal Palace, Vieira’s appointment was received with restrained optimism, but among the expert community they started talking about potential problems for “glaziers”. After an impressive start to his coaching career at the Manchester City academy, Vieira received mixed reviews for his work with Nice, where the coach was fired last December after five defeats in a row.
But Parish was willing to take the risk. Rumor has it that the head of Crystal Palace was struck by the modesty and the apparent lack of selfishness on the part of a man who lived a rich life in football as a player and got hold of many top trophies – world champion, European champion, three-time champion of England, Champions League triumphant and four-time champion Italy. In addition, the “glaziers” received a mentor, who almost immediately in the locker room was nicknamed “the whispering giant.” All because of the 192 centimeters of Vieira’s growth, who, when he was a football player on the field, turned into a lump of aggression, often clashing and arranging bright fights with Roy Keane from Manchester United. However, having become a coach, Patrick communicates with the players quite gently and calmly, as if there were no other manifestations of character in his life.
In the training process, Vieira also managed to surprise. Unlike the conservative and cautious Hodgson, who always preferred to rely on a strong defense, the current glazier coach wants his players to focus on possession. Vieira encourages talented football players to take on risky individual actions, which seems to be especially appreciated by one of the leaders of the team, Wilfrid Zaha, who is now the third most dribbled in the Premier League (102).
Yes, it is not complete without failures. For example, in the 8th round, Crystal Palace was incredibly close to an away victory over their fellow countrymen from Arsenal, but when the score was 2:1 in their favor, Vieira’s team was overly carried away by the attack, and as a result, conceded in the fifth compensated minute, allowing The Gunners save one point. Something similar happened to the “glaziers” in the sixth round, when they, winning 1:0, in the fifth compensated minute allowed Brighton to win back.
But these are typical growth difficulties. In the summer, Crystal Palace was abandoned by a huge cohort of once key players, which caused the fans of the glaziers to have serious concerns about the fate of the team in the new season. However, so far, the Londoners are doing well – in 13 rounds they scored 16 points (although they deserved more, since they have an Expected points of 17.9), and occupy 11th place in the standings.