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Patrick Vieira backs Crystal Palace to achieve goals despite quiet January

Patrick Vieira File Photo
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Patrick Vieira has admitted he would have loved to have improved Crystal Palace’s squad in January but said the players he does have can reach the goals in front of them this season.

Palace used the January window to make Jean-Philippe Mateta’s loan from Mainz permanent while signing 19-year-old forward Luke Plange from troubled Derby and immediately loaning him back to the Rams, but there are no new faces in Vieira’s squad for the rest of the campaign.

The Eagles were linked with a host of names, including Donny Van De Beek, Dele Alli and Aaron Ramsey at different points, but ultimately no deals were forthcoming.

“There have been a lot of names out there,” Vieira said. “Our focus in any window is to try to improve the squad. We didn’t sign anybody, but in the end I always said I was happy with the group of players that I have and that didn’t change at all.

“The way those players worked this week was fantastic. We have players here who can achieve what we want to as a football club and I’m really happy with the talent we have.

“Of course you are always disappointed when you don’t improve the squad, but again, I’m really happy with the players we have and with the talent and the determination we have.”

The quiet January came after a much busier summer window, when Palace brought in the likes of Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen, Odsonne Edouard and Michael Olise while loaning Conor Gallagher as they replaced several senior players who left on free transfers.

“We went with younger players in the summer because you need the right balance between experienced and young players,” Vieira said. “I think we found that. I always talk about wanting to improve the squad with experienced players, but at the same time I think about the level of the young players we have.

“The experience allows us to compete at the level we can do, but the lack of experience I believe as well has made us lose a couple of points in important games. But we are not in the same place today as we were six months ago.

“I think the players have a really clear idea of what I want from them, the good and the bad things we have been through have improved those players and we are in a better place.”

Palace will be in FA Cup action this weekend as they take on Hartlepool in the fourth round. Vieira lifted the trophy five times as a player and wants his own players to dream of winning it themselves.

“Why not?” he said. “I think the FA Cup is a really exciting competition and the FA Cup always creates special moments. To go to the end and win it you of course need to be consistent in your performances and have a little bit of luck, but we have to believe in ourselves.

“We need to be ambitious individually but collectively. We need to be ambitious as a football club so the players can feel the club wants to win silverware…

“If we manage to create this kind of atmosphere we will be really demanding of the players, and I think the players will like that as well and they will perform.”

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