Former Arsenal’s greats Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry are set to clash in the 108th Derby de la Côte d’Azur on Wednesday night.
Henry took charge of struggling Monaco after leaving his post as Belgium’s assistant coach while Vieira is in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice. Henry admitted that their new positions will force them to put aside their friendships as they chase important points for their respective clubs. Vieira, on the other hand, feels the rivalry has come too soon but is ready to challenge his friend on the opposite touchline.
Both players were part of Arsenal's Invincibles that won the league unbeaten in 2003/04 season.
“For a little bit we’re not going to like each other, because we’re not supposed to like each other in that type of game,” Henry joked while speaking to The Guardian.
“It’s strange because we’ve spent so much time together. We’ve always been really close to each other. It never crossed my mind that we’d both be coaching here and playing against each other so soon.” Vieira offered.
Henry has had his fair share of difficulties at his former club which lies second from bottom of the Ligue 1 table and Vieira acknowledges that those difficulties are bound to occur in any club
“I would say, Thierry, on the other side, has had different issues. But I believe he will find a way to get the best from his players and be successful. All the big issues he can find at Monaco or I can find here at Nice, make us grow and create an experience that we will use for the future,” the Nice boss said.
Ups and downs
“You have some up and downs, and it’s about how you learn from those situations and improve yourself. It’s a tough situation here for me, knowing in the last couple of days that the chairman and [general manager] will leave because they were the ones that brought me here. But I’ve been in the game long enough to understand things can sometimes go in a different way to what you’ve planned,” Vieira concluded.