Vieira: 'Play a lot better'
By D. Crossan
Nice coach Patrick Vieira says his team "need to play a lot better" when they host Bordeaux in Ligue 1 Conforama on Friday evening.
Les Aiglons ended a winless run of six games in all competitions by beating Reims 2-0 at Aliianz Riviera last Sunday. Vieira's side scored both goals after Moussa Doumbia had been dismissed early on and the 1998 World Cup winner knows more will be required of his side against Les Girondins in their final game before the international window.
"We need to keep progressing," admitted Vieira. "Against Reims, there were certain things that we improved. We need to be aware of our situation; it was very complicated and we needed to win, we needed to get some confidence back. The team spirit was very good but we need to be consistent and put a run of wins together. We need to play a lot better, be more dangerous in attack and much more solid defensively in order to put that run together."
The clean sheet against Reims was Nice's first of the season and Vieira's side need to continue their improvement after a difficult start to life under new owners INEOS. Nice head into Week 13 in 13th place in the table but only three points behind third-placed Nantes.
"We need to be more consistent"
Vieira said: "That's why you've never heard me speak about a crisis. The league is such that if you win three games in a row then you'll be right up there at the tip of the table. We need to be consistent and not panic when we're on a bad run. The league is very tight and everybody can hope to finish in the top half of the table."
The Nice boss confirmed that attacker Alexis Claude-Mauruce will be out for at least a fortnight with a calf injury he felt following the Reims game, but there was better news of Christope Hérelle, who has recovered from a hamstring twinge that forced him off early against the Champagne club.
Bordeaux are two points better off than Nice and sixth in the standings, having scored 17 goals this season. Boss Paulo Sousa still believes that for the club to start challenging for trophies again, they need to ramp things up in attack.
Sousa: "You need a player who puts away every chance"
Sousa commented: "To win games, you need to score goals. You need to have the right mentality to score, and above all be aggressive when it comes to the final ball and when shooting. We need to have that hunger to score goals. We work on it in training but - as I've said before - it's not an aspect of the game that's easy to improve. In order to get trophies, you need to have three-four players in the box who are goalscorers. You need a player who puts away every chance. That's something that makes a huge difference and I hope in the near future to have such a player."
Pablo was hurt in the 2-0 win over Nantes, while fellow central defender Edson Mexer suffered a knock in the same game. Sousa said: "To cope with the defensive injuries, we can change the players and we can change the system. I can count on my squad, like when Vukasin Jovanovic had to come in against Saint-Etienne. He was very good."
Nice: (to follow)
Bordeaux: (to follow)