Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch shared his respect for his counterpart Patrick Vieira ahead of Monday’s clash against Crystal Palace.
The pair were city rivals in America when they managed the New York Red Bulls and New York City respectively before both moving to European management.
And Marsch says he expects another tough clash with the legendary former midfielder as Los Blancos seek to extricate themselves from a relegation battle.
“When he made the decision to come to MLS, we were all thrilled to have someone of his stature in the league. When he came to New York City FC, it meant I had to hate him,” a- he said in his press conference (April 22).
“But I think over time we’ve learned to really respect each other.
“I followed him to Nice and thought he did a very, very good job there. And I was really happy to see him in the Premier League because I think that’s where it belongs.
“We have new groups now, a clash of styles but an opportunity for me and our team to test ourselves against a very good manager and a very good team.”
Once Vieira stepped into management, it was possible for most that such an iconic figure during his Premier League playing days would eventually return to these shores with a role in the dugout.
The Frenchman did a superb job in his first season with the Eagles, introducing a direct style that made for an easy watch and led them to a comfortable position in the table and an FA Cup semi-final.
After losing that game at Wembley to Chelsea, their season is likely to end with a whimper after following that up with a 1-0 loss to Newcastle in midweek.
This makes them all the more dangerous for Leeds to face as they will be looking for an answer on home soil.
Marsch’s men still need a few points themselves to secure safety, particularly after Burnley’s win over Southampton, so this game could see sparks once again between the American and Vieira.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has dropped the first hints of the likely line-up for the trip to Selhurst Park.