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Patrick Vieira hails Wilfried Zaha’s best Palace performance since he took over

The forward scored twice as the Eagles beat Watford 4-1.

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Patrick Vieira hailed goalscorer Wilfried Zaha’s performance as the best since he became manager of Crystal Palace (John Walton/PA)

Patrick Vieira hailed goalscorer Wilfried Zaha’s performance as the best since he became manager of Crystal Palace (John Walton/PA)

Patrick Vieira hailed goalscorer Wilfried Zaha’s performance as the best since he became manager of Crystal Palace (John Walton/PA)

Patrick Vieira hailed goalscorer Wilfried Zaha’s performance as the best since he became manager of Crystal Palace, after he struck twice in a convincing 4-1 win at Watford.

Palace went into the game on the back of a long winless run, but took an early lead when Jean-Philippe Mateta’s shot took a fortunate deflection off a defender and into the back of the net.

Moussa Sissoko headed in the equaliser almost immediately after with his first goal for the Hornets, but Conor Gallagher’s strike just before half-time restored the visitors’ lead.

Zaha then wrapped up all three points for the visitors with a low drive past Ben Foster in the Watford goal, before capping it off with a curled 85th-minute strike as Palace further distances themselves from the bottom three.

“I was really pleased that he scored those two goals because Wilfried played really well, he played really well out of possession, he played with the team and he got rewarded by the two goals that he scored,” Vieira said.

“That was Wilfried’s best performance since I have been at this football club, out of possession he was fantastic, he worked well, he worked hard, he supported the team-mates with Will Hughes and Tyrick (Mitchell) they did really well.”

Vieira’s side looked composed and clinical in the final third as the Eagles boss got the better of his immediate predecessor Roy Hodgson, and Palace climbed above Leicester into 11th place, nine points above 18th-placed Burnley.

“The result was really important. I think when you’re looking at the last couple of games and you’re looking at our performances I think our performances were good but we were missing this clinical finishing and I think today our game was more complete and we defended well, we used the ball quite well,” the Palace boss said.

“We stick together in a difficult period and when we had chances we scored in an important moment of the game and overall it was a really good team performance.”

Hodgson was left to rue defensive mistakes after his Watford side were unable to build momentum following on from their first win since November at Aston Villa on Saturday.

“Well we lost for a start, that’s probably the most important thing that went wrong, we were hoping to build on the good result at the weekend, at home, in another game,” Hodgson said when asked what went wrong in the match.

“But unfortunately we didn’t and we were punished quite heavily for the few defensive mistakes we made in and around our box.

“I don’t honestly believe it was a 4-1 game, I don’t think that at 2-1 with us still trying our best to get back into the game it looked as though we were going to lose it 4-1, but unfortunately these things do happen.

“We tried our best for an equaliser during the second half, passed the ball around reasonably well, but the game is about goals and when they got the ball in and around our penalty area without creating lots and lots of chances they scored four of the chances they created.”

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