Palace boss Vieira launches defence of Chelsea and ‘quality’ Potter

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Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has jumped to defend crisis-hit Chelsea – stating the Eagles would be fools to underestimate the Blues despite their recent slump. The Frenchman’s confidence-shy side travel across the capital to west London on Sunday with a burning desire to wrestle back control of their alarming form, which threatens to cloud the club’s eye-catching start to the Premier League campaign.

Palace have won just one of their four matches since returning to action following the mid-season break and have been on the receiving end of two one-sided thrashings against Fulham and Tottenham before being dumped out of the FA Cup by bottom-of-the-table Southampton.

But if Palace are struggling for morale, Graham Potter’s Chelsea should provide the perfect appetiser following the Blues’ miserable midweek defeat at Fulham – which means they have won just one of their last nine Premier League matches.

Their wretched run of form is of no interest to Vieira, however, as he took the chance to defend Chelsea and Potter’s quality – something he believes will eventually shine through.

“We look at the squad that they have, we’re looking at the quality of the players that they have and the quality of the manager that they have,” a defiant Vieira declared.

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“At the moment, yes they are in a difficult period and everything is going against them.

“There are so many teams in that kind of position. But that doesn’t take away the quality that they have.”

Chelsea will also be without star loan signing Joao Felix after he was shown a straight red card for a horror lunge on Kenny Tete.

Vieira would still prefer Palace to focus on their own depleted performance levels as they battle to keep their head above water as the relegation battle continues to unfold below them.

The Eagles remain in 12th in the table but if their rough results continue, they could be sucked into an unsavoury dogfight in the bottom half of the table.

“We have to perform well and not think at all about the run of games that they’re having at the moment,” Vieira added.

“We want to focus on ourselves. We want to improve regarding the last game that we played.

“We want to be more competitive, more consistent in our performance to allow ourselves to win those games.”

Vieira also confirmed Palace are actively looking to improve their squad in the January transfer market but they are still yet to make any progress on new arrivals.

“I always say that we want to improve the squad, we know the profile that we want. Then we just have to work and hopefully we will bring in a couple of new faces.

“We are looking at the squad we have, I always talk about experience and the need for more physical presence on the field.

“Those are the kind or profiles that we work off and we want to improve.”

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