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Ivory Coast’s Zaha will remain Crystal Palace penalty taker despite Norwich City miss - Vieira

9:20 AM GMT 12/02/2022
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The former Arsenal midfielder explains why the 29-year-old will maintain his penalty role and what needs to be done to improve his display

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has stated they will not stop winger Wilfried Zaha from taking penalties after his miss against Norwich City in a Premier League fixture on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international returned into the Eagles starting XI after doing duty for the Elephants at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, in the fixture that ended 1-1 at Carrow Road.

After the Canaries had taken the lead through Teemu Pukki after 39 seconds, Vieira’s men restored parity on the hour mark thanks to Zaha, who smashed a beauty past goalkeeper Angus Gunn.

However, the Ivorian had a chance to seal the game for Palace after Tyrick Mitchell was brought down in the box by Maximillian Aarons but he stepped up to send his effort wide.

It was the first time Zaha had missed a penalty in the English elite division (after five opportunities) and according to the former Arsenal midfielder, his penalty record has been really good and they don’t have to change.

“He’s under contract, so that means he is happy to wear the shirt and perform well around the team,” Vieira said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“What is good for him is to have players around him taking responsibility and that’s taken off some of the pressure on his shoulders.

“We have players who can score, players who can deliver and the positive is we’re having a team performance. That allows him to express himself and that’s good for him and the team.

“I think people always remember the last penalty. But when you look at his record on penalties it’s been really good, so there’s no reason we should change.”

On Zaha’s goal against Norwich, Vieira said: “That was obviously a fantastic goal, a wonderful goal. This is Wilfried [Zaha] at his best. This is what we need, what we want from him.

“We know he’s capable of delivering for the team and we want him to do it more often. He has the personality and ability to do it. We want him to do it more often with the support of the players around him.

“He has to score more because of his ability to do so. He’s a player I believe with his ability can create more and score more. It will not be him by himself; he needs the team around, the performance, and the chances created to put him in a situation to express his talent.

“When I talk about him doing more it’s not about him as an individual – it’s about using the players around him, the way we play, the chances we create.”

Zaha will hope to continue with his goalscoring form when Palace travel to face Brentford at Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday.