Vieira urges Nice to ‘remain calm’

Patrick Vieira's side were reduced to 10 men in last season's fixture

Nice boss Patrick Vieira has urged his players to remain “as calm as possible” in Tuesday’s Ligue 1 derby with Monaco.

Vieira is unbeaten in the fixture during his Nice reign so far, drawing in the principality last season before claiming a 2-0 win at home. However, the game in Monaco saw Nice reduced to 10 men when they were leading.

Nice return to the Stade Louis II this week looking to add to their hosts’ early-season misery – they have failed to win in their first six matches and sit just one place off the bottom of the table. Nice, in contrast, are flying high in third with the mood at the club buoyant following the takeover by Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe.

Former Arsenal star Vieira, who rejected a return to the Premier League with Newcastle earlier this year, says staying calm and focused will be key for his side.

“What’s important for us is to really focus on the game and make a good match,” he said. “We know that there will be more engagement than usual because it is a derby, but we will have to be as calm as possible.

“They are in a difficult time…but Monaco is a great team of the championship, with strong individuals. We are going to be focused on the talent on the field, not the ranking.”

The World Cup winner also feels his players are getting their rewards for their hard work this season and insists they are keeping a lid on expectations following their strong start.

“The players have their heads on their shoulders,” he added. “They know this is only the beginning of the championship.

“The message is clear: you really have to focus on our game, not the points. But we did not steal our points. The players are being rewarded for their work.”