Patrick Vieira (left), pictured with NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna, won’t talk about his link to Arsenal. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

By Michael Lewis Editor

New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira refused to comment on the speculation that has linked him to his former EPL club Arsenal in the wake of Arsene Wenger leaving the team.

Vieira, 41, is one of several potential candidates named who might succeed his fellow Frenchman.

“I just want to talk about the game, I don’t want to talk about nothing else,” Vieira told reporters in the postgame press conference after City’s 3-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park Sunday night.

“I don’t have any comment to make. I just want to talk about the game and nothing else.”

When asked about Wenger’s coaching career, Vieira replied, “I just want to talk about the game — nothing else.”

Vieira played nine years with the Gunners, securing three English Premier League crowns and three English F.A. Cups.

Despite the loss, NYCFC (5-1-2) still sits atop the Eastern Conference.

The City coach said playing in Portland was “really tough.”

“The atmosphere was really good,” he said. “Today I think, when you have the home fans making that noise, it always gives that extra to the home team. The support that they had was really good today. I understand why they are really good at home.”

While NYCFC owned a considerable time in possession, the visitors could not translate that into goals. Team captain and striker David Villa, who has 399 career goals, was never really a factor.

“I think it was really difficult for us,” Vieira said. “They were defending quite well. They executed their game plan well. We were really vulnerable in the counter attack. With the quality of players they have, they scored three goals, but overall it was a really difficult game for us to find space.

“When they went into counter attack, they made it really difficult for us. I think our defensive transition wasn’t good enough. It was a day where we didn’t find the way to perform. I still believe that we have a good team and we’ve been doing some really good stuff since the start of the season, but of course, we think the game today shows that we still have a lot of work to be done.”

Here’s the full Vieira press conference from Sunday night:

VIEIRA’S VIEWS: NYCFC coach talks after 1st loss of the season


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JOHNSON ON THE LOSS: ‘It’s the first time we’ve really been punished as a team’