“He came back from international [duty] and he wasn’t feeling well at all,” Vieira told Sky Sports in his pre-match interview. “He didn’t have any kind of training with the team, so we decided to leave him at home.
“He is feeling better, but it wasn’t good enough for him to be part of this one today. We have a squad, we have players who can perform, and players who are waiting to get their chance.
“Today is about them trying to perform as well as they can for the team.”
The manager was aware of the rapturous reception that awaited him at his old club, but reiterated that his focus was on how Palace could win the game.
“It’s really difficult because when you spend nine years somewhere, it’s emotionally difficult to come back,” he explained. “But I am the manager of a football club, and the focus and concentration this week was all about how we can perform well to win the game. That is my only concern to be honest with you.
“You’re not going to take off the nine years I spent at this football club. Like I’ve said before, I was part of a really good generation of players who made history at this football club. To have this kind of reception will be really pleasing, I will be really happy. But it’s about us performing well and trying to win the game.
“It’s one of the frustrations so far that a lot of games we’ve played quite well without getting the points, but that’s just a part of the game we need to work on and improve to allow us to win football matches.”