Patrick Vieira praised Mikel Arteta's impact on Arsenal, saying the head coach had brought energy back to the club.

Arteta has been praised since taking the helm in December last year, having lost just two of 15 games in charge.

Former Arsenal captain Vieira, who was also linked to the job, hailed Arteta for his work so far at Emirates Stadium.

"When you're a Gunner, always a Gunner, so I'm watching them all the time, I watch their games," the Nice head coach told Ian Wright in an interview for Adidas.

"What is really interesting with Arteta is that he brings the energy back and it looks like they are playing for the club, but for the manager as well, and I think that is really important."

Vieira has been at the helm of Nice since 2018, and was linked with a return to Arsenal after Unai Emery was sacked last year.

The Frenchman said he wanted to manage a big club, but he is happy at Nice.

"I really don't know what the future will be, but doing this job it was like being a player," Vieira said.

"I wanted to play at a high level, I wanted to play for the national team, I wanted to go to the World Cup, I wanted to play with the best players and there is no doubt as a coach I have the same kind of ambition.

"I would want to manage a team that will have a chance to win the Champions League, to play the Champions League competition.

"But at the moment, honestly, right here at Nice I am in the perfect place, perfect place because I can fulfil my ambitions, the club is really ambitious and the club give me the tools to grow as a manager, but to be a part of a winning team and to play good competitions as well.

"The team is growing up really fast, really quick and hopefully I can get my ambitions with OGC Nice."

Patrick Vieira insists there was never any chance of him replacing Unai Emery at Arsenal as he and Nice are "100 per cent" committed to one another.

Former Arsenal captain Vieira has been linked with the Gunners job since Arsene Wenger's departure in 2018, but Mikel Arteta instead took over after Emery was sacked in November.

The Frenchman says there were no talks with Arsenal on this occasion, although the Nice coach is adamant he would have turned down any offer regardless.

"No, but there is no place in my mind to have those kind of conversations," Vieira told the Daily Mail. "My focus is here [at Nice]. This project suits who I am and what I want to achieve.

"This rumour about the Arsenal job is not something that bothered me. I don't know what the future holds but that is why I don't want to put my brain somewhere that doesn't exist.

"This club knows I want to stay and I know they want me to stay, 100 per cent."

However, Vieira said he discussed the possibility of taking over from Wenger before he became Nice coach.

"It was just a conversation about my situation, where I am, what is the next step," he said. "Nothing came of it."

Vieira moved to Nice from New York City in June 2018 and found former Manchester City team-mate Mario Balotelli in his squad in France.

The Italy international, having starred at Nice prior to Vieira's arrival, failed to score under the new coach and departed for Marseille in the next transfer window.

Vieira added of Balotelli: "Mario's mindset was difficult for a collective sport.

"The philosophy I wanted to put in place, the togetherness and work ethic I wanted to build, it was difficult for me to work with a player like Mario.

"It was really difficult for both of us to work together, so we decided to go different ways."

Nice boss Patrick Vieira denied holding talks with Arsenal prior to Mikel Arteta's appointment as head coach.

Arteta officially began work at Emirates Stadium on Sunday after agreeing a three-and-a-half-year deal to succeed Unai Emery.

Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi said he and technical director Edu spoke to "several top-class candidates," one of which was rumoured to be Vieira.

Former Gunners captain Vieira was linked with the role throughout the recruitment process but, in an interview with Canal Football Club, claimed there was no substance to the speculation.

Asked if he had been contacted, Vieira – who has also been linked to David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami – said: "No. It's flattering seeing your name everywhere but I am under contract with Nice.

"I have known since I arrived how lucky I am to be involved with this club's project.

"I don't have any intention or desire to go and look elsewhere."

Nice finished seventh in their first season under Vieira and sit 10th in Ligue 1 at the halfway mark this term.

The 1998 World Cup winner said qualifying for Europe was part of his long-term plan for the club.

"The objective is to play in the Champions League one day, but it will take time," he said.

Arsene Wenger's legacy in world football is very apparent, with the number of his former players who are becoming managers rising all the time.

The latest addition to an ever-growing list is Mikel Arteta, who has been appointed as Arsenal's successor to Unai Emery.

Arteta spent five years playing under Wenger at Emirates Stadium, winning a couple of FA Cups during that time.

The Spaniard has a tough task on his hands as he prepares to take over an Arsenal side lying 10th and seven points adrift of the top four in the Premier League.

As Arteta prepares to begin his new venture, we take a look at how other Wenger proteges managed when they swapped the pitch for the dugout.

 

TONY ADAMS

A four-time champion in England's top flight and Arsenal's captain fantastic in Wenger's early years in charge, Adams has not quite matched those lofty standards as a coach.

He had a year at Wycombe Wanderers and a little over three months at Portsmouth, with both spells pretty miserable. When Granada came calling in April 2017 in a desperate bid to avoid relegation from LaLiga, Adams took charge for seven matches and lost all of them.

SOL CAMPBELL

Campbell was another centre-back extraordinaire under Wenger after his acrimonious move from Tottenham, and was only converted to the world of management in November 2018.

The 45-year-old chose a real challenge for his first appointment, taking over Macclesfield Town, who were languishing bottom of League Two before Campbell steered them to a great escape.

He left the financially stricken club in August of this year and has now taken on another ambitious project in the form of League One strugglers Southend United, who have just seven points from 21 matches this term.

REMI GARDE

He only spent three years playing under Wenger before retiring in 1999, winning the Premier League the year before, but it was not until 2011 that Garde took up his first head coach role with Lyon.

Under Garde, Lyon won the Coupe de France in 2012 and the Trophee des Champions in the same year, before he took over at Aston Villa in November 2015. He only lasted until the following March. He was most recently in charge of Montreal Impact before being sacked in August.

OLEG LUZHNY

Luzhny won a Premier League title under Wenger before stints with Wolves and Latvian side Venta, where he became player-coach for a spell in 2005.

After hanging up his boots for good, the former Ukraine international became assistant at Dynamo Kiev and was twice interim head coach before landing the top job at Tavriya Simferopol in 2012. He is now back in Kiev as an assistant again.

PAUL MERSON

Although his finest years as a Gunner preceded Wenger's arrival, Merson did play under the Frenchman for a year before he had spells with Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth.

After joining as a player in 2003, Merson became Walsall manager a year later, but constant line-up changes and supporter unrest led to him being sacked after a 5-0 thrashing by Brentford in February 2006. He is now a television pundit and columnist in the UK.

DAVID PLATT

Platt was approaching the end of a storied career when Wenger took over and the midfielder left after the manager's first two years in charge. He was briefly Sampdoria boss but resigned after six matches, with other Serie A clubs angry that he was appointed without coaching qualifications.

A player-manager spell with Nottingham Forest followed, before three years in charge of England Under-21s. After three years on Manchester City's staff, he spent a year in India with Pune City, and is now part of a consortium that has bought Palermo.

GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST

Van Bronckhorst won the Premier League and FA Cup under Wenger before leaving for four successful years with Barcelona in 2003 - a spell that included a Champions League final triumph over the Gunners. He then returned to boyhood club Feyenoord, finishing his career in 2010.

After a year in charge of Netherlands' Under-21 team, he went back to Feyenoord and worked as assistant coach for four years before taking the top job in 2015. Five domestic trophies – including an Eredivisie title – followed before he departed after the 2018-19 campaign, and he has been tipped for big things. 

PATRICK VIEIRA

An inspirational skipper under Wenger and the leader during a time when Arsenal were at the forefront of English football battling Manchester United. 

Vieira went on to have spells with Juventus, Inter and Manchester City before turning his hand to coaching with New York City, where he spent two years before returning to France to coach Nice. He led the club to seventh last term but they find themselves in 14th after 18 matches so far this campaign.

THIERRY HENRY

Arguably the greatest player to have featured under Wenger for the Gunners, Henry is a Premier League great who became Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer before treading a familiar path to Barcelona.

He later returned to north London for a short loan spell from New York Red Bulls and was appointed assistant coach to Roberto Martinez with Belgium in 2016.

Henry's first stint as a head coach was a disappointing one, winning just four of 20 matches in charge of Monaco – the club where he started his playing career. The France legend will hope for more success in his new venture with Montreal Impact.

Paul Pogba remains on the sideline but not the outer at Manchester United.

The rumoured Real Madrid target reportedly hopes to leave Old Trafford in January after missing out on a move before the season started.

But it seems the Red Devils will resist all interest in their record signing when the transfer window opens.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BLOCK POGBA'S EXIT PATH

Five months after Mino Raiola confirmed his client's desire to depart, United remain resolute in their determination to keep star midfielder Pogba.

The 26-year-old failed to engineer a close-season exit and the Red Devils will again stand in the former Juventus star's way if he asks for a move in January, reports the Daily Mail.

Pogba has not played since September due to an ankle injury and will miss Wednesday's EFL Cup quarter-final against Colchester United because of illness.

LaLiga leaders Barcelona and Serie A champions Juve, where he spent four seasons, have been linked with Pogba since his return to United, while Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is known to admire the World Cup winner.

ROUND-UP

- Mikel Arteta is on the verge of taking charge at Arsenal and plans to appoint fellow Manchester City assistant Rodolfo Borrell as his number two in north London, reports the Mirror.

- Though the Gunners are in talks with Arteta, The Athletic claims Arsenal's former captain, Nice boss Patrick Vieira, remains an outside chance to win the job.

- Has Jerome Boateng played his final game for Bayern Munich? Suddeutsche Zeitung suggests the centre-back's agent Fali Ramadani recently met with Hasan Salihamidzic to discuss a January transfer, though the prospect of a mid-season move is complicated by Bayern's injuries at the back. 

- In brighter news for the Bundesliga giants, Bild says Leroy Sane has decided he wants to join Bayern in January. The Manchester City star was heavily linked with a switch from the Premier League to his native Germany prior to suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

- Diego Simeone wants to strengthen Atletico Madrid's defence with the signing of AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli, according to CalcioMercato.

- Chelsea could be left frustrated in their pursuit of Wilfried Zaha. The Daily Mail claims Crystal Palace will not budge on their £80million valuation of the 27-year-old winger.

Arsenal appear to have strengthened their interest in Nuno Espirito Santo.

Just over two weeks after dismissing Unai Emery, the Gunners are reportedly ready to hold talks with one of the top contenders to take over at Emirates Stadium.

But the Portuguese is not alone when it comes to candidates with Premier League experience.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS STEP UP NUNO CHASE

Arsenal will ask Wolves for permission to conduct formal discussions with Nuno next week, according to the Daily Mail.

The north Londoners are reportedly ready to "set to accelerate their interest" in the 45-year-old former Valencia and Porto head coach.

Belgium boss Robert Martinez is also said to have been approached, while Mauricio Pochettino, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira continue to be linked.

Freddie Ljungberg has overseen two draws, a defeat and a solitary victory since taking charge on an interim basis.

ROUND-UP

- Like his former employers, ex-Arsenal boss Emery will not be rushed into a decision on his next move. Marca says the Spaniard has turned down the chance to speak to two Chinese clubs and managerless Everton since becoming a free agent on November 29.

- Premier League champions Manchester City hope to bring wantaway winger Jadon Sancho back to the Etihad Stadium after losing him to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, reports the Daily Mail.

- On the outer at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud appears to be moving closer to the Stamford Bridge exit door. L'Equipe claims the France striker is close to agreeing personal terms on a January switch to Inter, where he would reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Serie A side Milan will be offered the chance to sign Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid in January, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

- Barcelona will listen to offers of €10million for teenage defender Jean-Clair Todibo, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish newspaper claims Bayer Leverkusen, Milan, Monaco, Southampton and Watford have submitted bids.

- Real Betis have sealed a deal to sign former Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Patrick Vieira dismissed talk about the Arsenal vacancy as the Nice head coach insisted he is "300 per cent" focused on the Ligue 1 side.

Former Arsenal captain Vieira has emerged as a candidate to replace Unai Emery, who was sacked by the struggling Premier League club last week.

But Vieira – a three-time Premier League champion with Arsenal – played down the speculation ahead of Nice's Ligue 1 clash against Metz on Saturday.

"I don't have any comments," Vieira told reporters. "Sincerely. It's a question I don't have to answer.

"Sincerely, I am 100 per cent focused on what I have to do here. And I think I have a lot of things to do here. And I don't want to spread myself over anything.

"I am 300 per cent focused on how I can try to find solutions to be more constant, to win more games. Find solutions to get the best of my players. I want to put my energy and my concentration only on that."

Nice are 14th in Ligue 1 this season, five points above the relegation play-off spot following just one win in four matches.

Vieira said: "I communicate a lot with Julien [Fournier, football director], with the president [Jean-Pierre Rivere] and with Mr. Ratcliffe [owner]. I have their support. 

"We talk, we discuss. The goal is to find solutions, to improve. I have never felt the slightest doubt about their attitude to my work. It's reassuring."

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Patrick Vieira played down talk he could take over at Arsenal as the Nice coach labelled it a "very complicated job".

Unai Emery was sacked as Arsenal head coach on Friday amid a seven-match winless run for the Premier League club.

Vieira – an Arsenal great – has been one of the names mentioned to potentially take charge at the Emirates Stadium, but the Nice coach played down the reports.

"There are things I don't control, people who say a lot of stuff, which is true or not true," he told a news conference after Nice's 3-1 Ligue 1 win over Angers on Saturday.

"I didn't say anything, I didn't say anything about that. I'm like you, I read, I look, I hear things, and that's it."

Vieira, whose Nice side are 11th in Ligue 1, said the position at Arsenal shaped as a tough one for Emery's successor.

"It's a very complicated job, I realise that," he said. "I support Emery, it's always sad to see a coach losing his job.

"Today it's him, tomorrow it might be me, but as soon as you decide to start in this job, you have to expect to be fired at some point."

Vieira spent nine seasons at Arsenal as a player, winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

His former team-mate, Freddie Ljungberg, is the interim coach of Arsenal, who visit Norwich City on Sunday.

Arsenal sacked head coach Unai Emery on Friday following a disappointing start to his second season in charge of the club.

Emery lasted just 18 months in the job, paying the price for a winless run that spans seven games following Thursday's 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in front of a sparse crowd at the Emirates Stadium.

Former Gunners midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has been promoted to take charge in an interim capacity, but what about the contenders to replace Emery on a permanent basis?

Here we examine seven potential candidates for what remains one of the most coveted jobs in football, despite Arsenal's recent struggles.

Massimiliano Allegri

The ex-Milan and Juventus boss won six Serie A titles during his coaching spell in Italy and is out of work after leaving the Allianz Stadium at the end of last season. Allegri also reached two Champions League finals with Juventus and is seemingly primed for a return to football management.

Carlo Ancelotti

Another proven winner, having lifted league trophies in Italy, England, France and Germany, as well as winning the Champions League three times. Ancelotti has experience of working in the Premier League with Chelsea, but he has had a tough time of things at Napoli this term and his reputation has taken a bit of a hit in the process.

Mauricio Pochettino

Another coach with experience of working in the Premier League with a London club, albeit at Arsenal's fierce rivals Tottenham. Pochettino worked wonders during his five-and-a-half years at Spurs, but he ultimately failed to win any silverware and his loyalty to the team that sacked him makes this an almost certain non-runner in the eyes of many.

Freddie Ljungberg

Iconic Arsenal midfielder Ljungberg is the man in possession of the job after being placed in caretaker charge. Following the initial success of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United in an identical capacity 13 months ago, leading to him landing the position full-time, could Arsenal be tempted to go down a similar route if results instantly improve?

Mikel Arteta

Sticking with the theme of turning to an ex-player to steady the ship, Arteta has long been tipped as a future Arsenal boss. The Spaniard captained the Gunners during his playing career and has spent the past few years picking up coaching advice from Pep Guardiola. The question, though, is whether he is ready to manage in his own right - and if so, would this really be the right first job to take on?

Patrick Vieira

Unlike Arteta, and indeed Ljungberg, Vieira has experience of managing in a big league after 17 months in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice, where he remains under contract. The ex-France international, still a legendary figure at Arsenal, guided Nice to a seventh-place finish last season and has previously hinted he would be interested in returning to Arsenal.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno led Wolves out of the Championship and sealed a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season. He has continued his upward trajectory this term by balancing European football with domestic commitments, but could he be persuaded to jump ship while onto a good thing at Molineux, where he is loved by supporters?

Kai Havertz is reportedly wanted by seven of Europe's biggest clubs.

The Germany and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has impressed in the Bundesliga, sparking interest from numerous clubs.

Havertz, 20, is contracted at Leverkusen until 2022, but that does not seem to be stopping Europe's best and biggest.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, MADRID AMONG SEVEN CLUBS WHO WANT HAVERTZ

LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of seven clubs who want Kai Havertz, according to Sport Bild.

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the other clubs interested in Havertz.

Havertz made his senior debut at Leverkusen in 2016 and has already amassed 121 appearances for the club.

ROUND-UP

- Talks between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Milan are continuing. Sport Mediaset reports the striker wants €3million net until June, while Milan are offering €2m, with Ibrahimovic hoping to arrive at his next club by mid-December.

- Arsenal have started looking at potential replacements for under-fire head coach Unai Emery, according to The Daily Telegraph. Emery is under pressure after a run of six games without a win at Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo are reported candidates.

- Edinson Cavani is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and the Uruguayan could be set for an MLS move. Cavani's representatives met with LA Galaxy last week regarding a potential switch, according to Le10Sport.

- Arsenal and Lyon are interested in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Tuttomercatoweb. The 26-year-old France international has made just three LaLiga appearances this season after dealing with injuries.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen is keen to discuss a new deal with Tottenham, according to Sky Sports News. The centre-back is reportedly a target for Roma and Bayer Leverkusen.

- Inter Miami are still eyeing their first coach ahead of their inaugural MLS season in 2020. The Telegraph reports David Beckham is lining up Nice boss Patrick Vieira.

Keeping faith with the under-fire Unai Emery could have serious ramifications for Arsenal.

According to reports, club chiefs fear key players will question their long-term futures if Emery remains in charge.

Two star attackers are already said to be stalling on new deals with Arsenal sliding down the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS FEAR EXODUS

Arsenal are at risk of losing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the Daily Mail.

The newspaper reports the pair have shown little interest in signing contract extensions as a direct consequence of poor results and concerns over Emery's "conservative" methods.

Arsenal have failed to win any of their past six games in all competitions and are facing the prospect of another season outside the Champions League, a problem for the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marco Silva's position at Everton is in peril but he could remain in charge until after the Merseyside derby on December 4, according to the Daily Mail. The Toffees lie 16th in the Premier League following a 2-0 home loss to Norwich City.

- Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores is likewise feeling the pinch. The Telegraph reports the Spaniard is "on the brink" of becoming the club's second managerial casualty of the season.

- Manchester United are set to trigger a 12-month extension to Timothy Fosu-Mensah's contract, claims The Sun. The Dutch defender is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

- New MLS franchise Inter Miami are discussing the possibility of making Patrick Vieira their inaugural head coach, says CBS Sports reporter Roger Gonzalez. Vieira is currently in charge of Ligue 1 club Nice.

- Serie A side Roma are tracking Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The French midfielder scored a vital Europa League goal against Lazio earlier this month and could be the subject of a January transfer bid from their Serie A rivals.

Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira insists Unai Emery deserves to be given time to turn around the Gunners' recent fortunes.

Pressure is mounting on Emery following last Saturday's 2-0 Premier League defeat away to high-flying Leicester City.

Arsenal are already eight points adrift of the top four after 12 matches and have won only once in their past seven games in all competitions.

While it is believed the club hierarchy remain behind Emery, who was appointed as Arsene Wenger's successor after the 2017-18 season, there is a growing discontent among Arsenal supporters who think a change is essential to save their season.

Vieira, a three-time Premier League champion in a glittering Arsenal career, says now is the time to unite behind the under-fire former Paris Saint-Germain boss.

"It's true Arsenal are going through a tough spell," he told reporters on Monday. "But I haven't watched all their matches, so I can't talk about their game.

"They have a coach who is qualified who works well. When a club is having a difficult time, it's important to be united. I think he has enough experience to get them through this difficult spell.

"We have to get behind him and give him time to change things. I am not sure a change of manager will fix the problems."

Wenger, meanwhile, has lately been tipped to make a first return to management since leaving Emirates Stadium.

The 70-year-old told beIN SPORTS last week that he would be holding talks with Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge over the prospect of succeeding Niko Kovac, but he then clarified on Monday that he was not in the running for the job.

Nice head coach Vieira still hopes to see his old manager make a return to the dugout, saying: "I would like to see him coaching again.

"Arsene has a big passion [for football]. I have never met another coach who spends more time watching football games, analysing their opponent's matches, talking about football.

"It's his passion, it's his life. So, I hope he can find another club to coach. It didn't work out with Bayern Munich; maybe it will work out with another team."

Nice coach Patrick Vieira said he did not understand the referee's decision to send off Wylan Cyprien in their 4-1 defeat to leader's Paris Saint-Germain.  

PSG moved five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with the win in the Riviera, but a controversial second yellow card shown to Cyprien for dissent turned the momentum of the game.

Kylian Mbappe was then introduced for the final seven minutes on his return from a hamstring injury, as he scored and assisted to secure the points for PSG.

Vieira said he had spoken to the officials after the game but was no clearer on Cyprien's dismissal off, the first of two red cards in three minutes.

"The second yellow for Cyprien? I still do not understand the explanations of the referee," he told reporters.

"Wylan did not insult or disrespect the referee. I find it very severe and unfair.

"It is a half gesture of mood as one sees in all matches. The red for (Christophe) Herelle I can understand a little more.

"We came up against a team that was much better than ours, but that does not detract from the talent there is in our team."

Nice remain in mid-table and six points off second-place Nantes.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed he used to idolise Patrick Vieira as he prepares to take on the World Cup winner.

Tuchel's modest playing career in lower-league German football was grinding to a premature halt when the young Vieira was helping France lift the Jules Rimet Trophy on home soil in 1998.

Vieira went from strength to strength with Arsenal and Les Bleus, later enjoying spells at Juventus, Inter and Manchester City.

It took Tuchel many years to establish himself in the game as a coach, but success at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund paved the way for a move to Paris.

At the age of 46 he is three years Vieira's senior, and they will go head to head in Ligue 1 on Friday when leaders PSG travel to take on ninth-placed Nice.

As well as being a clash between two sides backed by unrivalled financial muscle in the French game, the touchline action could also be fascinating.

Vieira could not take the quiet route to success that Tuchel has achieved, given his status in the game, but learning the ropes on the Manchester City staff and in MLS with New York City FC led him last year to a first big job in Europe.

Tuchel is looking forward to facing Vieira again, saying: "He was one of my idols when I watched football as a fan and a player. He was a guy you could learn everything about the game from.

"Amazing career, amazing player and his personality on the field. When I was in New York on my sabbatical [in 2017-18], I watched a game of New York City FC.

"We didn't manage to meet after, so we only had some phone calls. And I was very surprised how humble and how friendly he was when we met for the first time in Nice last season."

Speaking on PSG's YouTube channel, Tuchel added: "For me, it's amazing if the best players share their experiences and be coaches.

"I like the approach that you take your way not on the highest level where you have played, but you learn the profession. Because it is good if you have the experience as a player, but it's a completely new job to learn.

"It's a nice team now in Nice. I'm looking forward to seeing him again and hopefully we wish him all the best – from Saturday!"

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