Crystal Palace

Patrick Vieira shows managerial credentials with inspired second-half subs vs Leicester

Craig Vickers
Schlupp celebrates his equaliser
Schlupp celebrates his equaliser / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

When Jamie Vardy added Leicester's second of the afternoon, Patrick Vieira could be forgiven for cursing his luck on the touchline. History was beginning to repeat itself.

After the Crystal Palace manager was deprived of a maiden derby victory on Monday evening with a defensive horror show allowing Neal Maupay to level deep into stoppage time, his side had contrived to shoot themselves in the foot once again as they trudged in at the interval 2-0 down.

A bright start had been quickly undone when Kelechi Iheanacho punished Joachim Andersen's indecision on the ball, before Joel Ward's hare-brained decision to race infield in search of the ball created the space in which Vardy doubled Leicester's advantage immediately afterwards.

The Foxes, clearly feeling the effects from their midweek Europa League trip to Poland, had barely woken up but found themselves cruising towards three points.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Joachim Andersen
Andersen is caught on the ball by Iheanacho for Leicester's opener / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Vieira could have taken solace in Palace's promising attacking play in the first half, but he displayed a similar ruthless streak which characterised the Frenchman as a player when he hooked the ineffective Jordan Ayew just eight minutes after the interval for exciting summer recruit, Michael Olise.

Ayew has endeared himself to the Selhurst Park faithful with his honesty and hard work over the years, but he possesses very little goal threat and Vieira spotted the opportunity to introduce more guile to proceedings.

He was rewarded when Olise netted eight minutes later, showing his much-lauded talent by firing an excellent strike beyond Kasper Schmeichel after Ryan Bertrand had blocked his initial effort. But Vieira's influence on this second half fight back from Palace wasn't done there.

Conor Gallagher has been Palace's standout performer this term, often impacting the game on both sides of the ball with his hard running and creativity, but he was marginalised centrally by Leicester and Vieira made the perhaps unpopular decision on 70 minutes to withdraw him for Jeffrey Schlupp.

The former Leicester man had been on the pitch barely sixty seconds when he popped up in a dangerous area in the penalty box to head Palace back on level terms. Both of Vieira's substitutions had made an immediate difference.

Although Palace's performance levels have been consistently high this season, it is Vieira's ability to maximise the talent not on the pitch which has been most encouraging. The Eagles do not boast the deepest squad in the division, owing to the high turnover of players they experienced in the summer, but Vieira is beginning to show he can operate with a limited player pool.

A common criticism of rookie managers - especially in the context of the Premier League - is their misuse of the substitutes bench. A shout commonly levelled at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his early days at Manchester United was his inability to impact the game with his options from the bench.

Patrick Vieira
Vieira applauds the Selhurst Park faithful / Warren Little/Getty Images

Vieira's experience in the US and, most recently, Nice means he has developed an array of top-level experience when it comes to in-game management.

Even still, his credentials were questioned when he was given the Selhurst Park hotseat in the summer, but he's beginning to show he has all the required managerial facets to operate in the Premier League.

The performance levels this term under the Frenchman will please the Palace faithful the most, but Vieira's capacity to make game-changing substitutes - as Leicester discovered to their detriment this afternoon - shows the depths of his ability.

facebooktwitterreddit