Vieira says the players’ improvement was “positive, but there’s more to come.” He added: “It’s been a really good first season, but the next one will be even more difficult.”
Vieira took on a sizeable challenge when he joined. On August 14th he entered his first competitive Palace game: a 3-0 loss to Chelsea. By the end of the season he’d awarded nine debuts and moulded the team in his style. That culminated in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United: Palace were defensively solid and offensively more clinical, achieving a positive Premier League goal difference for the first time.
“Of course I’m really pleased with the progress we had from the Chelsea to the United game,” Vieira says. “We are a different team, we have an identity and a clear idea about how we want to play the game in and out of possession. That is really important for me as a manager. Having said that, we can always improve.”
The task began the moment Vieira was appointed: with the groundwork laid by the recruitment team under Sporting Director Dougie Freedman’s stewardship, the manager and club had to act fast to ensure the best possible pre-season.
“We quickly identified the profile [of the player we wanted to sign]… There was no wasting time. It was going and trying to bring in players as soon as possible; it was important to have those players early because it allowed me to work with them.”