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‘Don’t change’ – Palace boss Vieira has message for Wilf Zaha ahead of Brighton clash


Patrick Vieira has insisted that he doesn’t want Wilfried Zaha’s passion and winning mentality to change for Crystal Palace’s Monday night clash against rivals Brighton & Hove Albion.

Zaha, who has featured in every minute of Vieira’s reign so far, will be playing in his 14th game for the Eagles against Brighton on Monday and has scored seven goals and contributed two assists in his previous 13 outings against the Seagulls.

Asked if he would be looking to Zaha, who is set to play his 400th game for Palace on Monday, to explain to the squad’s younger members and the new additions how much the fixture matters to the club and fans, Vieira said: “Yeah. Wilf has been here for a while now, and he understands this kind of game, and his experience will be really important for the team.

“I don’t want him to change – I want him to play with the same kind of passion,” said Vieira when asked how he was going to ensure Zaha doesn’t get carried away with the emotion of the match. “He is a winner, and I want that kind of winning mentality to be translated to the rest of the team. That is his personality, and I like to see him like that on the field.

“Wilfried playing those kind of games at home or away, he knows the intensity, the atmosphere of the stadium – he knows what to expect. Being in the dressing room, he will talk to the players who never had the chance to play those games.”

Although Zaha had a relatively subdued game against Liverpool, Palace’s talisman put in a man of the match performance against Tottenham the week before, getting his first goal and assist of the season.

Speaking on how he plans to extract similar performances from Zaha, Vieira said: “This is one of the areas that Wilfried needs to improve. As a top player, he needs to be consistent in his performance.

“Against Liverpool, he was good. He had the time to create something for the team. I was really happy with the last couple of games he played, and I will want him to maintain that level because he is an important player for us.”

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