NEW YORK—New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira conducted his first press conference with the same confidence and self-assuredness that came to define his storied European playing career.
In many ways, those leadership traits were a prime reason NYCFC decided to hand him the reins in the first place.
"I think it is important to have a great leader, someone who commands respect," said club sporting director Claudio Reyna, during Wednesday's press conference introducing the new coach. "We have instantly in Patrick the presence of that, as soon as he walks into the room."
A jovial Vieira delivered a message of hope and positivity in his introduction to the New York media, humbly acknowledging the difficulty of his new role while balancing the realities of a results-driven market.
"I am quite a really positive person. I am really ambitious," Vieira said. "I have been working the last few weeks about the league. I spent time in the draft talking to other coaches. I know what to expect and I will be ready for the start of the season."
Vieira's playing career is filled with accomplishments: The former French midfielder earned three Premier League titles, three Serie A trophies and a World Cup title (1998) as a player.
Despite that lengthy resume, Vieira's coaching career is just beginning to flower. While he has played under world-renowned managers in Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, Vieira's coaching resume is grounded in the Elite Development Squad program at Manchester City.
Facing that reality, Vieira is looking for the right formula for success. That begins with a focus on creating a playing style and attitude that reflect his ideals and those of New York City.
"New York has its own identity that is not Manchester City," he said. "What would be really important for me is to give a proper identity to the team, to be really clear about how to play in possession or without possession. That will be really important. I would like to see the team reflecting what New York is all about."
Vieira also conceded there's a challenge to winning in Major League Soccer, making clear that he will lean on Reyna for guidance.
"[MLS] is completely different and this is the reason why I need to have Claudio next to me to get me more into details of the rules in this country," Vieira said. "The last few weeks have been good. I learned a lot. In the draft, it was interesting meeting other coaches in the league, exchanging, talking about the positive and negative of the league.
"It has been a really long learning process for me but it was really good."
Despite Vieira's limited head-coaching experience, Reyna and the NYCFC brass also have a specific reason for hiring Vieira:
"The ability to communicate with big players who have played at the highest levels and the commitment to develop younger ones. All those boxes he has ticked," Reyna said. "His desire to succeed. His confidence without being arrogant. His willingness to also listen to his staff. I have seen that in the three to four weeks we have been together. It's just the confidence he has in taking this role."
Vieira acknowledged other offers existed to stay in Europe, and that witnessing the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium last season helped sway his decision.
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However, it is the unique challenges presented by NYCFC and the connection to City Football Group that ultimately convinced him to cross the Atlantic.
"[NYCFC] was my best option," Vieira said. "Knowing the people in this football club, knowing the project of this football club, the fact that working with people that I trust and to have the project we can work together, that was a massive impact on my decision. Knowing Claudio, playing against him in England, and how successful he wants to build the football club, joining the project was an easy decision for me.
"We are in an industry where results matter and results are really important," he continued. "We want to win and we want to win trophies by playing the right way."