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NYCFC boss Vieira impressed by improving MLS

Action Images / Matthew Childs Livepic

New York - New York City FC manager Patrick Vieira is impressed by the steadily improving standards in Major League Soccer and believes champion Seattle would not disgrace themselves if it played in France.

"It's hard to compare the MLS with Europe because the league is only 20 years old," former France captain Vieira told AFP.

"But there is an identity that is developing gradually. If Seattle played in Ligue 1 it wouldn't be ridiculous," he added.

Vieira is in his second season in charge at New York and he is hoping to build on the success of his first year, when he steered the team to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

New York boasted one of the most potent attacks in MLS last season but was eventually made to pay for defensive frailty, getting knocked out by losing 7-0 on aggregate during the playoffs against Toronto FC.

However, Vieira maintained that he would not compromise on his commitment to an attacking style of play.

"No. I've always liked the forward-based game," the former Arsenal and Juventus midfielder said when asked if he envisaged a more defensive style this season.

"I've always been a fan of teams that score a lot of goals. I've been in teams where the coaches were pretty defensive, but on the whole, what was important to me was knowing in which direction I wanted the team to go," he added.

With Frank Lampard now retired, Vieira said he was looking to World Cup winners Andrea Pirlo and David Villa to provide leadership on and off the pitch.

"We are talking about two guys who have won the World Cup, the European Championship, the Champions League - they know how to win," Vieira said. "I asked them to really get involved on and off the pitch. They are great at role - they never hesitate to to talk with the younger players to give advice. They always have a point of view which is positive for the team."

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