Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is well aware of what to expect from Brentford on Saturday and was not surprised to see the Premier League new boys beat his old club Arsenal last weekend.
The Eagles welcome the Bees to Selhurst Park looking to bounce back following a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea while Thomas Frank’s visitors are riding on the crest of a wave.
Brentford marked their top-flight return with an impressive 2-0 victory over the Gunners, but it did not come as a major shock to Vieira.
He said: “They just played with their strengths. They went on the field with a really good work ethic, with a lot of passion and it didn’t surprise me that they won against Arsenal and they will do well in the league.
“They are well-organised, they play football that I would say suits them and it will be a tough game.
“This is a team who has been working quite well the last five, six years. This is a group who know each other well, so we are expecting the same type of commitment.
“It will be a different challenge to Chelsea, but it will be difficult, of course because there are no easy games in the Premier League but we are at home, we are ambitious in the way we want to play and we are ready to do a good performance.”
Vieira’s managerial debut in England did not go to plan with the Champions League winners cruising to a routine victory, but with loanee Conor Gallagher available and Christian Benteke fit to start, Palace are eager to deliver a better showing on home turf this weekend.
Saturday’s fixture at Selhurst Park will be the first time the stadium has been full for almost 18 months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the 45-year-old cannot wait to experience what will be a special atmosphere, with supporters group Holmesdale Fanatics planning a display to mark the day.
“I’m really excited and really looking forward to it,” Vieira added. “The first home game, you want to do well. We know the fans will be up for it and hopefully we will give them the game they deserve.
“This is a strength of the football club, the fanbase, the atmosphere they manage to build in the stadium, so I am really looking forward to it. The fans missed being around the players, the players missed the fans in the stadium during this difficult period.
“The world of football is completely different without the fans so we are really excited to play at home in front of our own fans.”
After the loss at Chelsea on Saturday, Vieira reiterated his desire for chairman Steve Parish and Dougie Freedman, Palace’s sporting director, to improve the squad with new additions.
But he was unable to provide a significant update on Friday, admitting: “The only thing I can tell you is we are doing our best to bring the players that will make us a stronger team.”
What Vieira will hope to see change from their display at Stamford Bridge is the bravery of the team in possession, with the ex-Nice boss disappointed with their decision-making last weekend.
“I think the frustration of this game is when we had ball, we didn’t use it well enough to create more danger for this Chelsea team,” he noted.
“We know Brentford is a team that like to put pressure on the ball. This is the reason why it will be really important for us to make the right decision. We have to play with tempo.
“Obviously the philosophy is to try have possession of the ball but we have to use it well. If we have the ball and don’t create enough chances and don’t play forward, having possession is useless so it will be down to us to be brave and make the right decisions which allow us to break forward and create chances.”
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