Patrick Vieira pleased with progress but wants Palace to be ‘more ruthless’

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa – Premier League – Selhurst Park
(Image credit: Jonathan Brady)

Patrick Vieira is “quite pleased” with where Crystal Palace are at but has stressed the importance of improvement, including being “more ruthless” in attack.

Having appointed Vieira as boss last summer, the Eagles are currently 13th in the Premier League with 24 points from 22 games, and on Saturday moved into the FA Cup fifth round via a 2-0 home win over Hartlepool.

The former France international was asked at his press conference ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Norwich if he would have taken it if told on the day he was appointed what Palace’s league position, points tally and cup progress would be at this stage.

And he said: “Yes, of course – but at the same time I believe we lost points, we make mistakes and we still need to improve a lot of parts of the games that it might take a little bit longer than I thought.

“Overall, where we are, I am quite pleased with it, but it’s important for us to do better and win more football matches, because playing good football or playing well or creating chances is not enough.

“We need to be more ruthless in front of goal, we need to defend better in our 18-yard box. If we manage to do that, I will be more pleased and more happy.”

Palace’s 3-0 win over Norwich at Selhurst Park on December 28 is their only victory in their last six league outings.

Vieira said: “I think what was really good in that game was we scored at a really important time, and maybe chances we had we scored the goals, and we were really clinical in front of goal.

“That was something that we need to be more consistent. I think we are creating a lot of chances but we don’t score enough.

“When we played them at home, we were clinical and that is something that we have to take for the rest of the season.”

It appears likely Wilfried Zaha will be making a return to action on Wednesday, what would be the forward’s first Palace run out since playing for Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.

There will be no involvement for midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, who helped Senegal claim the trophy for the first time in their history by beating Egypt on penalties in Sunday’s final.

Vieira said of Kouyate: “It will be too early. He’s been playing a lot of games in really difficult conditions, so I’m going to speak to him and find out how he is.

“At the moment I think his mind is celebrating that trophy. I’m going to be speaking to him to see how he is going, but of course I will give him a couple of days. But he will be back to help the team to achieve our targets.”

Senegal-born Vieira added: “Really pleased, really happy for Cheikhou of course and for Senegal because, with the generation they had, they never had a chance really to win that competition, finally they did it and you can see the celebration. It’s a lift for the nation, so I’m really proud and really happy for them.”

Two other players who could make comebacks on Wednesday are James Tomkins and James McArthur, who have been back in training after injury.

Nathan Ferguson looks set to miss out, with Vieira saying the defender has “had a step back”.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1