African All Stars

Zaha the striker: Crystal Palace manager Vieira explains position against Southampton

09:59 EAT 01/05/2022
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.
The Ivory Coast attacker came from the bench to score a late winner for the Eagles and take his tally of the season to 12 goals

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has praised winger Wilfried Zaha for his impact in the club's 2-1 Premier League win away to Southampton on Saturday.

In a match played at St Mary's Stadium, it was the hosts who scored first courtesy of former Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu. However, the Eagles struck back through Nigeria prospect Eberechi Eze and Zaha, who had come on as a substitute.

The Arsenal legend has now revealed the instructions he gave the Ivory Coast attacker who was played as the striker in that particular game.

"We put him [Zaha] in the No.9 [position] because of his mobility and the fact he can hold the ball and run in behind," Vieira told the club's website.

"There was a massive space between the two lines of four that allowed him to drop and get the ball at his feet.

"And we know how dangerous he can be running in-behind as well, so he just needed a half-chance to put it in the back of the net. The game against Leeds he was unlucky, and [on Saturday] he showed how good he is and he is a really top goalscorer."

Vieira further explained the chemistry between Ghana international Jeffrey Schlupp and Eze that led to the latter finding the back of the net.

"[Schlupp] was inside and [Ebe] wider, but both of them can play inside or outside, so I gave them the freedom to find the space," the ex-French international continued.

"They could change position regarding where they were on the field and they did it really well, they combined really well.

"Where we had Jeff running in behind and he had a couple of crosses and combined with players and I think that allowed us to create more chances.

"I think we knew [Southampton] were going to press us really high and it was important for us to keep moving the ball quickly from one side to the other side. I think we did it really well.

"We started the game in a positive way and conceded a goal we should avoid. We showed character to get back and win at the end."

The win took the Eagles to 41 points, just two outside the top half of the table in 12th place, while the Saints remained with 40 and 15th.