Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira calls for time amid 11-game winless run and addresses Wilfried Zaha's future

Crystal Palace are without a win in 2023; Wilfried Zaha's contract expires in the summer; follow Brighton vs Crystal Palace with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app, plus watch free match highlights across Sky Sports' digital platforms at full-time

By Joe Shread, @JoeShreadSky

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira says Wilfried Zaha is committed to the club but the attacker will make a decision on his future when he is ready

Patrick Vieira says he still believes in his Crystal Palace players but insists he and his squad need more time as they continue to search for their first win of 2023.

Palace are currently on an 11-game winless run in all competitions and have taken just five points from their last 10 Premier League games, resulting in them being dragged into the relegation battle.

The Eagles may be 12th in the table but they are just three points above the drop zone, while they also suffered the ignominy of becoming the first top-flight club since Opta began collecting data in 2003 to fail to register a shot on target for three consecutive games during their 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City last Saturday.

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Only three teams have scored fewer goals than Palace in the Premier League this season and Vieira admitted: "The stats, you can read them the way that suits you and the way you want to send those messages.

"What is clear is we are not scoring enough goals - that’s just a fact. We have to play better and create more chances.


"It’s about working a lot in the last third, having people inside the box, about the quality of our passing and changing our mindset."

But the former New York City and Nice manager added: "I'm convinced about the way we are working. I'm convinced about myself as a manager. I'm convinced about the players I'm working with every day.

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"When you look at the attitude and hard work they showed against City, there is no question on that side. I know who we are as a club and as a team, and we'll keep fighting."

Palace's struggles this year have led to Vieira becoming one of the bookmakers' favourites to be the next Premier League manager to lose their job, and the former France international conceded: "I feel the pressure like the other managers. This is part of the game.

"The table doesn't lie - we need to win games and to do that we need to play better and score goals. I believe we have the quality to improve."

Vieira's current struggles may well leave last season feeling like a distant memory, but the 2021/22 campaign saw the former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder receiving acclaim for the way he helped to introduce a more attractive style of football at Selhurst Park after replacing Roy Hodgson.

Vieira took Palace to 12th last season - 13 points clear of relegation - and he knows expectations have risen accordingly, saying: "When you do well in the first season people expect you to keep improving, but it's not always the case.

"It's important to understand where we are, what we want to achieve and the direction we wanted to go. It will take time to be consistent and this is why it's important for us to remain calm - I'm talking about the club - and to keep working and believing in the players we have."

Vieira expecting 'same difficulties' against Brighton

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Palace will look to claim their first win of 2023 at the 12th time of asking on Wednesday when they travel to the Amex Stadium to take on rivals Brighton.

The south Londoners are unbeaten against the Seagulls in their last eight games and victory on the south coast would relieve a huge amount of pressure on Vieira - whereas defeat would leave the manager and his side facing up to a bleak scenario.

Palace held Brighton to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park in February but were undeserving of their point, given they recorded only 26 per cent possession and equalised from their only shot on target following a Robert Sanchez error.

Vieira admitted he is expecting the "same difficulties" for his side that they experienced last month, adding: "It was really challenging.

"They have a structure that allowed them to have an extra player in the midfield so we will have to defend well. We will have to be well-organised, be disciplined and have the ingredients we had against Manchester City, and improve the offensive side.

"It's always a special one and there's no doubt about how we will approach the game, and the commitment we'll have, like always. We'll be up for it."

Vieira also admitted Brighton could even be seen as a "benchmark" for the way Palace want to operate, saying: "They have a really good squad. They have a clear philosophy about how they want to play the game.

"Here at Palace it's different. The way we wanted to play has changed and we need time, we need stability to really make it more successful."

'Palace waiting for Zaha decision'

Wilfried Zaha's return to the starting XI after missing four of Palace's last six games through injury has failed to trigger an upturn in results or goals, but the forward still represents his side's best hope in the final third.

No Palace player has scored more goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League than Zaha this season, but the academy product's time at the club could be running out.

Zaha's contract expires at the end of the season and reports suggest he has been offered a lucrative deal in Saudi Arabia, with Vieira acknowledging: "It will be like that until the end of the season."

The manager added that he and the club are determined to keep Zaha but recognised the 30-year-old's future is in his own hands.

Image: Patrick Vieira says Crystal Palace will do all they can to keep Wilfried Zaha

"We do what we can and everybody knows we want to keep Wilfried at the club, but it will be his decision," explained Vieira. "We are waiting to see what he wants to do but we will do everything to keep him.

"He is committed every single day. What will happen after, that is going to be his decision and something we cannot control.

"I believe the club is doing as much as it can to keep him and he knows how much the club loves him, how much the fans love him.

"Now everything is in his hands and he has to make a decision, which he will give when he is ready.

"What I’m seeing of him every day in training… I’m happy with it."

Follow Brighton vs Crystal Palace with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app, plus watch free match highlights across Sky Sports' digital platforms at full-time.

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