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Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira insists Wilfried Zaha is perfectly proficient at standing up to aggressive opposition.

The talismanic Eagles forward was targeted by several Saints players during Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Southampton, and was visibly incensed when Lyanco went unpunished after bulldozing into his back in the first half.

But when it came to the question of whether Zaha is insufficiently shielded, Vieira’s answer was clear.

“No, it’s not about protection,” he said. “And Wilfried, believe me, he doesn’t need protection. He will stand for himself.

“It’s true that when you’re looking at the first couple of fouls on him, I was hoping that the referee would go and have a conversation with the Southampton players to make them aware that he has an eye on him.

“He didn’t, but you know, this is what Wilfried has to expect because of the quality.”

Earlier this month, Vieira defended the Ivory Coast international at the Best of Africa awards, where the Senegal-born former Arsenal captain and World Cup winner with France picked up a lifetime achievement award.

He told attendees: “I heard a lot of stories about Wilfried, that he was really difficult to work with.

“I can confirm he is really difficult to work with! But, he has got something really special. He is talented and he loves football.

“And I believe that people have the wrong impression of him. He is a winner and he is a positive leader in the team that pushes players to fight and to win.”

Lyanco was later booked for another challenge on Zaha, who was also shown a yellow card, it seemed, for arguing with the referee as cooler-headed team-mates tried to diffuse the situation.

Some wondered if Zaha’s fury would leave him flustered but he rebutted that almost immediately, dispossessing Lyanco and sending the ball to Tyrick Mitchell, who squared a pass to Edouard to set up the game’s only goal.

Vieira was quick to hail his forward’s hot temper as a virtue.

He said: “I don’t want him to change. I don’t want him to change because that makes him the player that he is, and we want to have those types of players to pull up their sleeves and to fight when we need it.”

The Palace boss also provided an update on midfielder Cheick Doucoure, who was a surprise omission from Saturday’s squad.

He said: “He was injured. It wasn’t something major, but we have to wait until Monday to see how long it will be.”

The win had pushed Palace into the top 10 at the close of Saturday night’s Premier League action, while Southampton, who emerged a different team following their first-half struggles, tumbled to 17th.

Che Adams came closest to scoring for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side on several occasions but the striker failed to find a finishing touch.

Hasenhuttl said: “We can only support him and help him and make him better, and he was in many situations where it was very important for us to bring the ball down, to fight there in front.

“It was working for this team, and it is frustrating, because he knows that he had good chances.”

Southampton next host Newcastle, while Palace travel to West Ham for their penultimate Premier League meeting before the World Cup break.