Palace assistant explains Vieira absence; ready for Rangnick clash

Dan Butterfield
Crystal Palace Patrick Vieira and assistant Osian Roberts

Crystal Palace assistant Osian Roberts has explained Patrick Vieira’s absence from Friday’s press conference as they get ready to take on Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United.

Vieira missed the pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon as his assistant Roberts explained his absence.

“Patrick was in as normal this morning for training. Unfortunately, he received a phone call and had to leave immediately to attend to an urgent family matter.

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“It makes a big difference when he’s not here, he’s a leader and the manager and you always want him at he helm. We have a responsibility in this unfortunate circumstance to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible in his absence.”

Whether Vieira will be on the touchline for Sunday’s clash with United remains to be seen but Roberts has revealed his side are focusing on themselves rather than their opposition. The fixture will be Rangnick’s first game in interim charge of United.

“When a new manager comes in there’s obviously the potential for some changes even in the short period that they will be with a team. We’ll have to wait and see. We’ll focus on what we normally do, that’s what we did today and what we’ll do tomorrow.

“He’s a highly respected coach with highly talented players at the club, the options he’ll have are numerous. It’ll still be about our principles of play, how we want to play with and without the ball. If we get that right more often than not it’ll hold us in good stead in terms of the performance.”

Palace have been susceptible to conceding from set-pieces this season, something that was added to as they gave away a late penalty at Leeds on Tuesday to cost them a point. 

Roberts, who oversaw Vieira’s coaching badges, is frustrated but his sides vulnerability but has revealed they have been working hard on it in training.

“It’s always frustrating to concede goals whichever time in the game. Obviously, we have to talk about things. We certainly don’t ignore these matters we try and deal with them.

“What we do in training, what we talk about in terms of concentration levels. We’re aware we’ve conceded too many from set-pieces collectively. It’s the same for all aspects, we feel that in all areas of the game we can improve.

“This morning we worked on certain things to make sure we improve in open play and set plays. Our answer is always to confront and accept that there are areas at the game we can do better at.”

Roberts also spoke about the homophobic chants from Leeds fans aimed at Conor Gallagher on Tuesday evening.

“Homophobic chants aren’t acceptable in any form of society in football games or elsewhere. I understand Leeds are taking care of the matter as I’m sure they would as the class club they are. As far as we’re concerned we move on.”