Patrick Vieira unique interview on reworking Crystal Palace’s taking part in model forward of Liverpool conflict | Soccer Information

The move started with a Joel Ward throw-in deep into Crystal Palace territory and ended, 58 seconds later, with Conor Gallagher firing an angled finish into the corner of the Brighton net.

In between, the ball traveled through every Palace player, including goalkeeper Jack Butland. The patient, 20-pass build-up carved Brighton open and while the goal was not enough to win the game, the mention of it still prompts a smile from Patrick Viera a week later.

“I knew it was a nice goal in terms of the build-up from the back, but I didn’t realize in the moment that every player had touched the ball because I was too into the game,” he tells Sky Sports. “It was good to see it back, because it shows the way we want to play.”

Vieira is speaking over Zoom from the club’s Beckenham headquarters, where, over the last six months, he has overseen a transformation. The Premier League table shows Palace in roughly the same position as last season. But, from personnel to playing style, pretty much everything else is different.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Free to watch: Highlights from Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw with Brighton

Vieira’s predecessor, Roy Hodgson, did fine work across his four-year tenure, providing stability in difficult circumstances and helping to establish Crystal Palace’s presence in the Premier League.

But the football was functional rather than thrilling and there was an appetite for change. Vieira came in with a remit to overhaul the team and modernize the style and that is precisely what he has done.

Image:
Vieira has completely overhauled Crystal Palace’s playing style

“That was the direction of the chairman [Steve Parish] wanted to take and it is one of the reasons I am here as well because he understood the way I wanted the team to play,” he says.

“It was a risk, obviously, to change the style, and even more when you have that kind of transition of players, where you lose 12 and bring in eight young guys without much experience in the Premier League.

Sunday 23rd January 1:00pm

Kickoff 2:00pm


“So, when you are looking at what was going to be the first 10 games of the season [which included meetings with Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City], you see all the elements are there to have a difficult period.

“But with the support to implement my philosophy, and with the togetherness of the football club – and when I talk about togetherness, I am talking about the chairman, [sporting director] Dougie (Freedman), and the staff – we managed to get through it, allowing me to focus on the way I wanted to team to play.”

Vieira shakes his head immediately when asked if the scale of the task at hand made him think twice about taking the job – “I was really excited about coming,” he says – and Palace fans are glad he didn’t.

The 45-year-old, a three-time title-winner with Arsenal who cut his teeth as a coach at Manchester City’s academy before spells in charge of New York City FC and French side Nice, has instilled optimism in the stands and brought freshness on the pitch.

A raft of youthful summer signings, including Gallagher (21), Marc Guehi (21) and Michael Olise (20), has lowered the average age of the side by two years, and while Palace sit 11th in the Premier League table ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Liverpool, the underlying data ranks them as the eighth-best performers in the division.

Do the numbers offer encouragement to Vieira?

“When you look at the data side of things, you can say, ‘Yeah, we should be a little bit higher in the table’, and that’s positive,” he says. “But on the other side, it’s about trying to understand why you are not where you are supposed to be, or where you want to be.

“It’s about understanding and trying to find the things that will make us a better team so we can improve those kind of details to get better results. So, overall, yes, it’s positive, but it’s not enough for what I want. I will always be demanding and wanting more from the players because I believe they have the potential to do more.”

The main areas for improvement are clear to him.

“I would like the team to be more ruthless in both boxes,” says Vieira.

Michael Olise celebrates his goal against Leicester

Image:
Michael Olise celebrates with James McArthur

“That means on the defensive side, but at the same time, when we are winning 1-0 and we have a couple of chances to score the second one, I want us to have that kind of ruthlessness to score the goal that would allow us to go two ahead.

“It is about having a maturity, and that comes with experience. Hopefully, in the second half of the season, it will be one of the areas we really improve, but it does take time to get to that.”

Vieira’s philosophy is vital to him. “I knew that if I decided to go into coaching,” he says, “this would be how I would like to see my teams play, because when I go to watch matches, I like this kind of intensity, possession and trying to play forward and score goals.”

But he is a pragmatist too. In October, he steered Palace to a 2-0 win at Manchester City with just 32 per cent possession. On Sunday against Liverpool, he knows they will need to be flexible again.

“The goal against Brighton is good because it highlights the way we want to play, but we are not going to score goals like that every weekend,” he says. “We need to understand that scoring in different ways is as important as scoring in that way.

“It’s important to be consistent with style, but at the same time it’s important to have the right gameplan depending on the team you are going to play. Obviously, if you want to have possession when you play against Manchester City, for example, you know that is… not impossible, but really difficult.

“So it is about knowing that and saying, ‘What are we going to do instead?’ That is another side of the game we need to improve as well, when we don’t have the ball.

“That is something we have to learn and we have to put more emphasis on that because those kinds of teams have the philosophy and the players, so it will be difficult to match them on that side.

“I’m not telling you we are going to change our philosophy, but we have to take into account the strength and the quality of the opposition team.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praises Patrick Vieira’s impact at Palace

That certainly applies to Palace’s next opponents.

Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Vieira’s former club Arsenal on Thursday in the Carabao Cup semi-final showed they remain a formidable proposition even without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but Crystal Palace will at least have the visceral support of a bouncing Selhurst Park behind them.

Under Vieira, they have accrued 71 per cent of their Premier League points there, and only lost twice – to Aston Villa and West Ham – in all competitions. The connection between fans and players feels stronger than ever this season.

“It’s massively important,” says Vieira. “Since I’ve been here, I really understand the relationship between the fans and the club and the players. There is a passion, there is caring, there is really a love that the fans show to the players, and I believe it is massively important for the players, staff and everyone to show that love back.

Conor Gallagher, Crystal Palace

Image:
Conor Gallagher has become a fans’ favorite among Palace supporters

“One of the ways we can do that when we are on the field is to play with passion and love and determination, because those fans deserve that.”

Vieira uses Gallagher as an example. The Chelsea loanee has earned plaudits for his goals and assists this season but it is his work rate that has most endedeared him to the fans, according to his manager.

“I think the way that Conor plays reflects really well that connection we have with the fans,” says Vieira. “This is one of the reasons why he is one of the fans’ favorites as well. Those qualities are what our fans love, when players on the field play with enthusiasm, with happiness.

“Of course, they understand the game too. They know that making mistakes, passing the ball at the wrong time, is a part of the game. But what they want is for the players to play with soul and heart. I think they have been doing that fantastically well.”

Watch Crystal Palace vs Liverpool live on Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm on Sunday; kick off 2pm

Why Liverpool want a Bruno Fernandes-style signing this summer time

The Reds have seen their Premier League dominance wear off this season, but a good player could change everything for Jürgen Klopp’s team

The party felt like it could go on forever.

There was Mo Salah, shirtless in front of the head. There was Alisson Becker sprinting 90 meters to join the fun.

There was Jürgen Klopp, beaming smile, fists pumping. Happy, relieved, directing the orchestra.

Editor favorites

There was Liverpool, at the top of the table, strolling to the title. Back in their place.

And there was Manchester United, the fallen giant clinging to the past like a bitter ex-spouse. Fifth in the league, 30 points away from the summit and “positive” after a 2-0 defeat in the home of their fiercest rivals.

Feels like a lifetime doesn’t it? Yet it has been less than 16 months since those wild Anfield celebrations since the Kop finally felt safe enough to sing about winning the league. When you are 16 points ahead of a game, you can afford to take risks one way or another.

It’s a different world now, that’s for sure. Football has an odd way of bringing you back to earth with a bump, and after having so dominantly won the Premier League last season, Liverpool’s fall this season has been both quick and painful.

The worst could also come. The Reds arrive at Old Trafford on Thursday, knowing that a loss or even a draw would likely end their Champions League qualifying hopes.

And in a way, wouldn’t that be the most fitting finale for this wretched campaign?

It was bad enough for Liverpool fans who needed a favor from United when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took on Leicester on Tuesday.

The fact that United lost the game 2-1 after 10 changes to the starting line-up made matters worse. You could call it dancing with the red devils. In any case, it didn’t feel right.

Alisson Mohamed Salah Liverpool Manchester United GFX

Of course, there won’t be any favors on Thursday. Solskjaer may be a Liverpool supporter but there isn’t a team he would rather beat these days and the chance for United to keep the heads of their big rivals under the water a little longer will certainly appeal to the Norwegian.

Solskjaer knows how Klopp knows how quickly fate can change at the top of the Premier League. One minute you’re flying, the next you’re falling.

These two teams are a case in point. United were 33 points behind Liverpool last season and 31 points behind in 2018/19, yet they come into this game 13 points ahead of their old enemy. It is them, and not the reigning champions, who were the “best of the others” behind Manchester City.

However, whether they will be better able to compete with Pep Guardiola’s side in the coming years is up for debate. You have certainly improved, but by how much? And is Solskjaer, the man who downplayed his chances when they were at the top of the table in January, really the man who took them to the next level?

What is undeniable, and what Liverpool can take to heart, is that, as Jamie Carragher said, things are rarely as bad as they can appear at a big club and that a result or two and a smart signing or two this can change the whole mood.

In United’s case, it was a signature. Bruno Fernandes arrived in Manchester 10 days after losing 2-0 at Anfield last January and the Portuguese have had an immense impact since then. Like Solskjaer, it is he who has brought this team forward.

His numbers are staggering. Fernandes has scored 25 goals and provided 18 assists in 49 Premier League appearances for United – a remarkable record that even takes into account the record number of penalties he has scored this season.

In addition, his presence changed the mindset on Solskjaer’s part. It is positive, it challenges, it takes risks and it gives security to those who seek inspiration alongside them. Harry Maguire is the captain of United, but Fernandes is their leader whom they look to more than anyone.

Bruno Fernandes Manchester United GFX

Not only did they add a high-class footballer when they initially paid Sporting CP £ 47 million ($ 66 million), they also brought in an elite mentality. And that was sorely lacking when the dynasty of the Sir Alex Ferguson era faded.

For example, it is no coincidence that United have won so many points by losing positions this season or that they have been awarded so many free kicks.

These are characteristics of a Ferguson team: daring, threatening, sometimes happy, convinced of their superiority, even if they are below average. Solskjaer’s side still have a long way to go but they at least seem to be on the right track.

Liverpool may need their own Fernandes to recover from this season’s disappointment.

Not necessarily an attacking midfielder with a free goal per se – although that would certainly help – but a top-notch summer contract (or two) that can give life and confidence to a battered team and lift the spirits of fans and players alike. A mood shifter if you want.

Klopp could argue that Virgil van Dijk will do that. The Dutchman’s return from injury certainly can’t come soon enough and we’ve already seen the impact he can have on this team.

Like everyone else, he turned Liverpool from rivals to winners after arriving on Merseyside in 2018. Like Fernandes, he is a leader in performance and mentality.

But while Van Dijk’s return will be significant, and similar to that of Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, perhaps the bigger issues are Liverpool’s summer recruitment.

You have room to fill in, in defense, in midfield and attack, and getting these signings right will be crucial, especially if they miss the top 4 and the financial benefits that come from that are crucial.

What we can say is that things are certainly not as bad as they appear at Anfield. This has been a season like no other in more ways than one, but it doesn’t take Klopp much to get the Reds back on track.

Who knows, maybe the road to recovery begins this week at Old Trafford?

Kabak assured he’ll go well with Liverpool model

Ozan Kabak believes he will fit in Liverpool’s style good after Schalke joined.

The Turkish defender joined the Premier League champions on loan with an option to buy on Monday as the injured Reds also added Ben Davies.

Kabak, 20, believes he will be well suited to play for Liverpool. who are third in the Premier League before hosting Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

Kablak: “Liverpool was my childhood team “

“Yes, of course. First of all, Liverpool play offensive football and push up. Sometimes they leave a bit of space in the back so I think the Liverpool center-backs have to be quick so I think I fit in that way,” he told LFC TV.

“They also enjoy playing and building the game. So you need to have good feet to set up the game. I think I am a very good fit for Liverpool. “

Kabak said he grew up dreaming of one day playing for the giants of the Premier League.

“Liverpool were my childhood team. That’s why I always wanted to come to this club and play in this fantastic stadium in front of these fantastic fans, “he said.

“It’s a dream for me. Now the dream is coming true.”