17 February 2023

Patrick Vieira demands sharper cutting edge from misfiring Crystal Palace

17 February 2023

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira wants his side to be more ruthless as they look to kick-start their Premier League campaign against in-form Brentford.

The Eagles head to west London without a win in their last seven games through all competitions.

After slipping to defeat at Manchester United, Palace were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton last weekend on what was another frustrating afternoon in front of goal at Selhurst Park.

Vieira feels his team are creating enough opportunities, but just not making them count.

“When you look at the last couple of games that we had, we competed well against the opposition team,” the Palace boss said.

“Obviously, we need to do more to win games and to do more is about being more ruthless in both areas of the boxes.

“It is about creating those chances and opportunities that we had and we had to score goals with those chances.”

Vieira told a press conference: “The biggest improvement that I would want to see is us scoring more goals.

“We created opportunities, we created chances, but we didn’t take those chances – and in football, you have to take those chances and to try to score goals.

“I think the mindset has to be more ruthless in front of goal, with more determination.

“We have to improve that quality. When we are in the last third, we are making a lot of wrong decisions and that side of the game has to improve as well.”

Brentford were somewhat fortunate to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 10 matches with a draw at title-chasers Arsenal last weekend, when video assistant referee Lee Mason failed to properly check for an offside in the build-up to Ivan Toney’s equaliser.

Nevertheless, Vieira knows just what to expect against Thomas Frank’s well-drilled side, who have climbed to eighth in the table.

“When you are looking at the individual quality and how they are organised as a team, it is always challenging to play against them,” the Palace boss said.

“When we faced them (earlier in the season), we competed against them (in a 1-1 draw), and this time it is not going to be any different.

“They are in form, but we played recently against teams who have been on really good runs and we competed really well against those teams.

“It is about ourselves and how we can be well disciplined. We will play the way I strongly believe we can.”

Palace will be without Wilfried Zaha, who continues to recover from a hamstring problem, while defender Joel Ward is also working his way back to full fitness following a calf issue.

Veteran midfielder James McArthur, though, should be involved again after stepping up his rehabilitation from knee and hip problems as he targets a first appearance of the campaign having been an unused substitute against Brighton.

Vieira confirmed: “Macca is still progressing well. He had another really good week with the team, so he will be part of the squad.”

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