Eagles were ‘sleepwalking to relegation’ under the former France and Arsenal star, as some suggest veteran ex-manager Hodgson might return in a caretaker role
Crystal Palace have sacked manager Patrick Vieira.
The move comes less than 48 hours after Vieira saw his struggling side lose 1-0 at arch-rivals Brighton on Wednesday night, putting the Eagles just three points above the relegation zone.
Palace are 12th in the table but are only three points above 18th-placed Bournemouth, who have a game in hand.
“It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made,” said Palace chairman Steve Parish.
“Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change is necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status.”
Palace travel to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday, their last game before an international break. They face 16th-placed Leicester City at home on April 1, followed by games against Leeds United and Southampton – both in the drop zone currently – and 15th-placed Everton.
Palace have scored just 21 goals in 27 games – only Wolves, Everton and bottom-of-the-table Southampton have fewer. Before their defeat by Brighton, Palace had gone three games without a shot on target.
Palace have the Premier League’s worst record in 2023. They have not won a game so far this year, losing six of their 11 matches.
Vieira, 46, a title-winning midfielder with Arsenal and World Cup-winner with France, had been looking care-worn when pitchside at recent games as the pressure mounted. He had been in charge at Selhurst Park for 20 months, having been appointed in July 2021, replacing Roy Hodgson.
Palace finished 12th under Vieira last season, and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup where they were knocked out by Chelsea.
Today, Palace are on just 27 points from 27 games.
In the club’s official statement, Parish said: “Patrick’s impact since joining us in the summer of 2021 has been significant, and he is held in the highest regard by myself, and all of his colleagues.
“He led the team to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final and respectable 12th placed finish last season playing some exciting football, which was a challenging and crucial campaign for the club given the changes we made to the squad prior to his arrival.
“Patrick has given his all to the club, and we all thank him and his team for their service.”
Vieira’s back-room staff of Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson and Said Aigoun have also left the club and the process of appointing a new manager is underway.
There has already been some speculation that 75-year-old Hodgson may return as a caretaker boss, to see the club through to the end of the season with the hope of keeping the club in the top tier.
Reactions among Eagles fans to the announcement were a mix of fatalistic gloom, reflecting the dearth of goals and points in recent games.
Former Palace star John Salako tweeted that Palace under Vieira were “sleepwalking into a relegation fight”.
Salako wrote that he was “not surprised at all” by the news.
“I have had major concerns since Fulham on Boxing Day. Way too nice!
“We needed some firepower in the [January transfer] window. Can’t score. Team lacks leaders and fight.”
Describing the now ex-manager as a “Top man”, Salako added, “Massively wanted Vieira to be a success.”
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As a fan you never know why things go wrong but you get a sense from what you see on the pitch.
Sacking the Manager is always the quick action. Rarely is it the solution.
It is even more rare when you sack a Manager that is good.
Fundamentally the players performances are not there. The why? That is the key and too often what John said happens – players coast – thinking they are safe – team draws, then lose and suddenly you are at the bottom looking up thinking – oops!
Too often players appear to be listening to what the coach is saying and then do something within the first few minutes that shows it was all a case of a smile and a nod as the words fly in one ear and without touching anything important fly out the other.
Bad blayers? No – perhaps just them behaving as if they are on an assembly line and just need to go through the motions. Bad Manager? Far from it.
But perhaps motivations, resources, promises and methods are no longer in sync.
And a squad is more expensive to sack than the Coaching team.
This is a team and club that has not just got stuck in the Mud – it jumped in headfirst and has happily wallowed in it like pigs in shit.
So different from the team that wound up Man City and had Zaha smiling as Grealish lost the plot! Yet it is fundamentally the same team and people.
They seemingly forgot that peristant consistant determination is required every minute of every game. The Club also forgot that it has to support that team and keep them inspired to give their all.
The Manager is just the Conduit in Chief and user of resource. Changing that will not be helpfull without providing the support and resource going forward.
And the Players playing together at the top of their game for each other at all times. So have a look in the mirror lads – be honest – and step up- You and we know you are capable – so show it!
I do like, admire, and respect Mr Viera and believe he is a good manager with an amazing work ethic . I am sorry to see him go but hope that another Premier league Club takes him on and his talents are not lost to English Football.
Don’t know why they sacked him. He was only reviving the traditional old yo-yo Palace when every season ended in tension….stay up or go down? At least there was some emotion around Selhurst then. These days it’s like swimming in a slow river of lukewarm fudge.