Patrick Vieira hails Wilfried Zaha and Ebere Eze impact as Crystal Palace secure comeback win

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Patrick Vieira has praised Wilfried Zaha and Ebere Eze after the pair both netted in Saturday’s comeback win over Southampton at St Mary’s.

Chasing their first win in five games, Palace made the worst start possible on the south coast as Oriol Romeu opened the scoring with a header from a corner after just ten minutes. At the other end, the Eagles missed chances through Conor Gallagher and Jean-Philippe Mateta but did enjoy the better of possession, going into the break a goal down but not out of the contest.

And so it proved to be, with Eze firing his first goal of the season past Fraser Forster on the hour mark after being picked out by former Saints man Nathaniel Clyne at the back post. It was a definitive moment for the midfielder, who was making just his third league start of the season after recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury suffered last May.

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Speaking in his post-match press conference, Vieira was full of praise for Eze as well as the Palace medical team who he said had done their job perfectly to carefully manage his return to the fore. He said: With the medical department, we had a really good plan about how long it’s going to take for him to get back to his best and we didn’t want him to ever step back. He will say to you that it takes longer than he wanted to. But at the end, what is important is that today he is capable of playing game after game and is capable of playing 90 minutes with no reaction after games and this is good. So we are pleased with the time that he takes to get him where he is today.

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It was a long journey for him and I’m really pleased for him because being out for seven months is really challenging. He is a player who loves football. He likes to be on the field, he loves playing the game and he loves playing football.”

Vieira was also glowing in his praise of Zaha, who started the game on the bench after his manager said he was still feeling the effects of a physical battle with Leeds on Monday night. When he did arrive on the scene with half an hour to play, he immediately stretched the Saints’ defence and linked up play better than they had done prior with target man Jean-Philippe Mateta leading the line.

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When he then got the ball on the edge of the area in stoppage time, he turned past Jan Bednarek excellently and fired an instinctive, driven shot into the bottom corner of Forster’s net, sending the away end into a frenzy. The goal was Zaha’s 13th of the season so far – a career-best tally for the Ivorian international with four games left to play to increase that number further.

“Wilfried is a fighter,” added Vieira. “He stays strong and on his feet and I don’t want him to change his game at all. He’s a goalscorer. He’s a winner. He can play in any ground and be ready for it.”

Source by Football London

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