Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is proving more and more people wrong every time he takes to the dugout to manage the Eagles.
Vieira wasn’t Palace’s only choice to take over at Selhurst Park in the summer, with the club speaking to Frank Lampard, Nuno Espirito Santo and Lucien Favre before settling on the Frenchman.
As a result, he was some pundits’ tip to be the first Premier League manager to lose his job, and before he’d even taken to the dugouts he was being compared to Roy Hodgson’s much-maligned predecessor Frank de Boer.
Those wild takes are now nowhere to be seen or heard, with Vieira already settled into life at Palace and clearly thriving working at the south London club.
The job was not an easy one to tackle for his first role in the world’s biggest league, tasked with rebuilding the Palace squad and changing their style of play to one that is more attacking and possession-based.
Helped by some excellent transfer business over the summer, Vieira has managed to get his methods across quickly and has shown in his first seven games as a Premier League manager he has the tactical ability to cut it at this level.
There have been only two league defeats (both away at title contenders Chelsea and Liverpool), an excellent 3-0 win over Spurs plus a handful of draws – with Palace coming from behind twice against West Ham and from two goals down against Leicester to draw 2-2 in both games.
That comeback spirit has been impressive but it’s Vieira’s substitutes that have also helped them along the way. At this stage in the season, Palace lead the way with most goals coming off the bench (four).
Odsonne Edouard made an immediate impact with two goals as a substitute against Spurs in September before both Michael Olise and Jeffrey Schlupp hauled the Eagles level against Leicester on Sunday.
Having the knack of knowing who to bring off the bench can be an important tool in a manager’s arsenal, though Vieira said he couldn’t take all the credit himself.
“With the staff when you prepare a game you always have first options with how a game is going if you’re winning or losing but it’s credit to the players,” he said after the draw with the Foxes.
“They brought the energy we wanted and needed then we were in a period where we created chances and situations and they managed to score those two goals.
“When they came on they came on with enthusiasm and determination. That is the important detail, when you’re on the bench it is not easy but I am pleased with how they came on and improved the team.”
There are still some players in the Crystal Palace squad who are hoping they will be able to make their mark soon, that is if they get to come off the bench in the first place.
Will Hughes was signed from Watford for £6million in August but is still yet to make his debut for the club, being an unused substitute in the club’s last four Premier League matches.
The competition for places will only get more intense as the season wears on for Hughes too, with Palace set to be boosted by the return of midfielder Ebere Eze from his Achilles injury in the coming months.
Speaking ahead of the Leicester game Vieira was asked about the players that had yet to get a run of games.
“What players want is the manager to be fair about the decision I will make,” he said. “Players want to play all the time but they have to respect it
“With the new players who came in and the direction this football club is taking, we will have those kinds of problems and that is a good problem.”
Source by Football London