Patrick Vieira: Nice sack head coach after five-match losing run

Patrick Vieira first took charge of Nice in 2018; pressure mounted after run of five straight defeats in all competitions, including four at home; former Arsenal captain Vieira has also managed MLS side New York City

Patrick Vieira has come in for growing criticism at Nice
Image: Patrick Vieira suffered criticism at Nice towards the end of his time in charge

Patrick Vieira has been sacked as Nice head coach after two-and-a-half years in charge following a run of five straight defeats in all competitions.

The 44-year-old, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season, had come in for increasing criticism over a downturn in results amid accusations the team lacked a discernible style of play.

Vieira appeared defiant after 11th placed Nice were beaten 3-1 at home by Dijon on Sunday - the visitors' first Ligue 1 victory of the season.

But a 3-2 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday, a match overshadowed by a pocket of Nice supporters' protests before the game, proved to be the final straw.

Vieira on the touchline during Nice's Europa League defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen
Image: Vieira during Nice's Europa League defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen, which proved to be his final game in charge

The World Cup winner was appointed in 2018 to replace Borussia Dortmund-bound Lucien Favre and led Nice to seventh in 2018-19 and fifth last season as they qualified for the Europa League group stages.

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But the team has struggled domestically this season and failed to make it out of their Europa League group, where they sit third after only one win in five matches.

A club statement, confirming the decision to part ways on Friday, said: "Patrick Vieira, who joined the club in the summer of 2018, is no longer head coach of OGC Nice, effective immediately.

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Vieira has been unable to arrest Nice's slump in recent games
Image: Vieira had been unable to arrest Nice's slump in recent games

"In a meeting conducted after last night's match, the Nice Board informed Patrick Vieira of their decision to end their collaboration.

"The Rouge et Noir club has decided to appoint Adrien Ursea as head coach of the club's professional first team, as of today.

"The Swiss-Romanian tactician, who was assistant coach to Patrick Vieira and, before that, Lucien Favre, will take charge of his first Nice match as head coach this Sunday with the trip to Reims.

Nice were beaten by bottom club Dijon in their last Ligue 1 game
Image: Nice were beaten by bottom club Dijon in their last Ligue 1 game

"Patrick Vieira put all his heart and professionalism into his service for OGC Nice over the last two and a half years of their collaboration.

"The Nice board sincerely thanks the former France international for his commitment and dedication to the development of the club and wishes him every future success in his coaching career."

Vieira, who previously managed Major League Soccer side New York City between 2016 and 2018, was also linked with the Arsenal job before Mikel Arteta's appointment last December.

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