Patrick Vieira has urged Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha to keep his ‘fire’ burning after a victorious performance against Aston Villa.
Zaha tormented the visitors at Selhurst Park as Palace celebrated their first Premier League win of the season with a deserved 3-1 win.
The influential striker, who scored twice, was also at the end of some tough challenges including being crushed by Villa captain John McGinn, who avoided a second yellow card from referee Andy Madley before being quickly substituted.
Eagles boss Vieira felt Zaha was treated roughly by Steven Gerrard’s side but believes the player is at his best when driven by passionate emotion.
“I don’t think Wilfried wants to be protected; I think he just wants the referees to be fair,” Vieira replied when asked if Zaha needed more support from the officials.
“And to be honest I think the referee spoke to him really well and Wilfried has to understand that with his quality that’s going to happen.
“Obviously he was being targeted and I think one of Aston Villa’s goals was to get him to lose his head.
“But in the end he has his fire in him that I don’t want him to lose because that makes him the great player that he is.
“He made a fantastic game.”
Zaha has now scored in each of the Eagles’ last seven major league wins and was rewarded with a standing ovation when he was substituted late on.
The 29-year-old quickly equalized for Ollie Watkins’ early opener on Saturday before giving Palace the lead with a rebound after his second-half penalty was saved by Emiliano Martinez.
He then helped build the clincher claimed by substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta.
Villa manager Steven Gerrard was unhappy with the award of Palace’s free-kick – given after VAR intervention after Marc Guehi headed the ball into Lucas Digne’s arm – and equally frustrated at his players’ failure to react .
His fickle side have won just three of their last 14 league games.
“The exit and the protection is like saying there’s ‘not enough in the building’ but I have every confidence in all these players,” said Gerrard, whose side beat Everton last Saturday after an opening weekend defeat at Bournemouth.
“I believe in myself and my staff that we can find that consistency.
“In the next few days we will do everything we can to give the players more support because we want to go forward and are not satisfied with the inconsistency at the moment.
“We can’t be a team one week and then have so many problems the week after.
“The results from last year and so far this season are too inconsistent.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/wilfried-zaha-patrick-vieira-john-mcginn-crystal-palace-selhurst-park-b2149428.html Patrick Vieira tells Wilfried Zaha to cheer for Crystal Palace