Patrick Vieira is in for one of the toughest managerial challenges since he joined Crystal Palace when he takes on Manchester City.
The Frenchman has already faced the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, but will confront the current title holders for the first time.
“It’s a really good challenge,” he said. “There is no doubt about the strength of Manchester City’s squad. It’s going to be challenging for us, challenging for any other team going to play there.
“We have to be brave, have to play with a strong personality and we will try to score those goals. Against those teams when you create a chance you have to take it. If we manage to do that we’ll give them problems.”
City were rocked midweek by losing to West Ham United in the League Cup. Vieira was asked if he feels this result will impact Saturday’s game, but refused to take much courage from it:
“This is a good team and in general good teams don’t lose two games in a row. We know it’ll be challenging but we’re prepared to make it difficult for them.
“You learn in every game you play and playing against Manchester City, looking at the strength of the team, the manager, what they’ve been doing, I will learn a lot about the team, players, myself as a manager. You want to compete with those teams, players and managers because you want to see how good you are.”
Finally, the Palace boss was asked to share his message to the players. He explained that he doesn’t need to say much, as playing a side of City’s size speaks for itself, but that his squad have a clear mission to follow:
“There is not much really to say to the players. They watch games and know City, Liverpool, Chelsea better than I do. It’s about finding the right organisation to allow our players to express themselves. If we are thinking about going to this kind of stadium and wanting to defend, it will get to a time where they score goals because of the quality they have.
“We have to be brave, try to play our game and play with personality. I want the players to take responsibility on the field and to express themselves, because we have talent to make it difficult for them.
“Look at teams who go to the Etihad and concede goals, defend higher and still concede. This is the strength of the team, but we have to go there and play with personality to see what will happen. We will perform the best we can.”