Patrick Vieira sacked as Nice coach after run of defeats

MARSEILLIE (AFP) – Patrick Vieira has been sacked as coach of Nice and replaced by his assistant following a run of five consecutive defeats, the French Ligue 1 club announced yesterday.

The final straw for the former Arsenal player and France 1998 World Cup winner was Thursday’s 3-2 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen, which confirmed Nice’s elimination from the Europa League.

Adrian Ursea will take over from Vieira. The 53-year-old Romanian, who has spent much of his playing and coaching career in Switzerland, had been an assistant to previous Nice coach Lucien Favre and returned last year to work under Vieira.

“In a meeting after last night’s match, the Nice board informed Patrick Vieira of its decision to put an end to their collaboration,” the club said in a statement.

“Patrick Vieira put all his heart and professionalism into his service for OGC Nice over the last two and a half years.”

Appointed in 2018, Vieira had been under growing pressure after last week’s shock home defeat by struggling Dijon left the ambitious Cote d’Azur club in the bottom half of Ligue 1.

His side had been badly hampered by the loss of veteran captain Dante, the former Brazil defender, to a serious knee injury.

Now 44, Vieira had not worked in France since leaving Cannes for AC Milan in 1995 but joined Nice in June 2018 after two and a half years in charge of MLS side New York City FC.

Before that he had been coaching the development squad at Manchester City, where he ended his playing career in 2011.

Vieira took Nice to seventh in Ligue 1 in his first season and then fifth place and European qualification in the last campaign, which was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.