Patrick Vieira acknowledges he now counts Crystal Palace amongst the clubs battling relegation but denies he feels any more pressure in the manager’s chair than he did when he took the job.
The Eagles side sit 12th in the table with 27 points, just five more than 18th-placed Everton in the drop zone, and remain without a win since beating Bournemouth 2-0 on New Year’s Eve.
Vieira’s tenure in south London has until now been the subject of occasional whispers, but Palace’s recent form – which has also seen them net just four goals across nine Premier League matches in 2023 – has turned up the dial.
The Eagles boss, however, remained largely unfazed, saying: “Pressure? I had the pressure since the first time I signed in this football club. I had the first pressure since the first game against Chelsea a couple of months ago.
“This is what the Premier League is about. I think every single manager has pressure to perform, to play European competition or to stay in the Premier League, and I see myself as no different from every other manager.”
He was more blunt about his side, who have played out five low-scoring or goalless draws in 2023, and face another tough test against top opposition when Manchester City travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday looking to pick up three crucial points of their own in the title chase.
For all their inconsistencies, Palace have spent eight consecutive weeks in 12th place and their fixture list does not get easier any time soon, with a midweek trip to in-form rivals Brighton before facing league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium next Sunday.
“I think if I’m sitting in front of you and telling you that I’m not concerned it will be a lie,” said Vieira.
“Of course we are concerned, of course we are aware of our position in the table. It’s important for us to remain calm and keep working and keep improving. We have a tough week ahead of us and it will be important for us to try to get points, but if we want points we have to play well.
“The table is what it is. We’re still five points clear, of course, but anything can happen, and we have to know that we are part of those nine, 10 teams who have to fight to stay in the Premier League.
“But we are in a better position than some of the teams. That will be enough? No. And this is why we have to prioritise our performances. How can we improve ourselves as a team to allow ourselves to win those games?”