Patrick Vieira has outlined where he believes his Crystal Palace squad have made significant progress throughout the season and has pinpointed Wilfried Zaha as an example of the side’s development.
The Eagles are two points away from a spot in the top 10 of the Premier League after a 2-1 win at Southampton last weekend.
In Vieira’s first season in charge at Selhurst Park, Palace have reached an FA Cup semi-final, all but secured their 10th season in the Premier League for the next campaign and currently are the only side in the bottom half of the table to have a positive goal difference.
Vieira’s Crystal Palace squad could relegate former manager Roy Hodgson and his Watford side this Saturday should the Eagles pick up all three points.
“If we’re looking at the first game that we played against Chelsea and where we are today, there is a better understanding about how we want to defend as a team – what our roles and responsibilities are on the field,” explained Vieira when asked about his side’s progression throughout the campaign.
“We are more compact, and everybody really understands what they have to do. A good example is Wilfried [Zaha] – the work he is doing on the field out of possession.
Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (centre) celebrates scoring their side’s second goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Saturday April 30, 2022.
“This is something that is massively important for us and important for everybody on the field to understand.
“In possession, having new players like Joachim Andersen, who is really comfortable on the ball and allows us to have different options.
“We can play behind the opposition, find players between the lines, and that allows us to play the way we want to.
“In possession, we have a better understanding of the opposition on the field, and that allows us to combine better together.
“The videos and the feedback that we are giving to players has allowed us to have a better understanding and perform, but there is still, I believe, a lot to come from the players.
“Hopefully, the second year will be better than the first one, and that is what we have to aim for.”