Brentford head coach Thomas Frank feels Patrick Vieira’s pathway from a ‘top player’ to his first tentative steps as a manager will serve the World Cup winner well for the challenges ahead in the dugout.
Frenchman Vieira will be in charge for his first home Premier League game as Crystal Palace boss against the Bees at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Having taken over following the departure of experienced campaigner Roy Hodgson, Vieira is determined to make just as much of an impact on English football as he did when leading Arsenal’s Invincibles side under Arsene Wenger.
Vieira, 45, has so far had mixed success during spells in charge at New York City and Nice, where he left in December last year following a poor run of form.
Frank – who stepped up into the Bees hotseat in October 2018 after Dean Smith joined Aston Villa – believes Vieira will have taken plenty of experiences from his stints coaching in the United States and Ligue 1 as he readies himself for the biggest challenge yet.
“There is no right pathway for a head coach or manager, everyone is different,” said Frank, the Dane having worked with the national team’s youth set-up before taking charge at Brondby and later joining Brentford as assistant head coach in December 2016.
“I definitely believe if you take the right steps, there is a relatively better reason for success.
“A top name as a player, sometimes that can give you a top job too early, that can be too big or too difficult.
“The difference between being a player and a head coach or manager is two different ends of the scale.
“There are things you need to be aware of and if you can do a little bit more of trial and error in your first jobs….It is better to do that at (a club like) New York City – they also have to win, but you are just in a better environment.
“Then you take the next step, like to a good club in Ligue 1, which was his home country, which also helps.
“Now, he is stepping into the Premier League, which is the best league in the world, so I think he progressed and got good experience at every place. He has a good opportunity to show what he is made of.”
Frank added: “He definitely has a good opportunity (of a top job) because of the profile, but we all know, of course, we need to perform in the current jobs we are in.”
Palace were beaten 3-0 at Chelsea in their opening fixture of the new season.
Vieira accepts it will take time to implement his own philosophy as the clubs looks to move forward, with a number of key players released during the summer.
“It is important that you are coming in with your ideas, and try to play the kind of football you think you should play,” Frank said of the challenges facing any new manager.
“I was privileged because I was at a club which was aligned with that, and when I was first hired as an assistant manager.
“You need to feel the culture, you can change it from one end to another, but sometimes you need to take things in steps, and that is the tricky part, especially if you do not win enough matches along the way.
“I definitely did not win enough matches in the beginning, so it was definitely good that I got the backing, because everyone needs that to create something big.”
After opening their maiden Premier League campaign with a memorable home win over Arsenal, Frank understands producing the same level week in and week out will be no easy ride.
“They can play in the Premier League, now we need to show we belong in the Premier League going forwards with consistent performances,” Frank said.
“It is about putting a lot of ‘money in the bank’, and then hopefully we can build on those savings in terms of good performances during the sticky periods.”