Patrick Vieira to speak with Cheikhou Kouyate over support for Idrissa Gueye

Gueye was absent for “personal reasons” as PSG wore rainbow-coloured numbers to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community
Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate has become engulfed in the Idrissa Gueye story (Martin Rickett/PA)

Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate has become engulfed in the Idrissa Gueye story (Martin Rickett/PA)

By George Sessions, PA

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has promised to seek talks with midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate over the reason behind his messages of support on social media to compatriot Idrissa Gueye.

Gueye has come under fire after he failed to feature in Paris St Germain’s 4-0 win over Montpellier on Saturday, which was the weekend Ligue 1 had chosen for its clubs to show solidarity ahead of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia this week.

The French side wore rainbow-coloured numbers to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community but Gueye was absent for “personal reasons” having also missed the corresponding fixture last year.

Kouyate and fellow Senegal team-mate Ismaila Sarr have both sent messages of support to their international colleague after Gueye faced criticism and the Palace boss is eager to find out the “full facts” from his player.

“It will be a normal conversation,” Vieira insisted.

“I will be trying to understand and I will speak to him to try to see what that message means.

“Of course I don’t know how you perceive that message but I will speak to him and try to understand.”

The Premier League’s own Rainbow Laces campaign occurs in December and Vieira insisted he would always be willing to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.

He added: “Myself, I will support anything when it comes to being anti-discrimination. So if I have to wear the shirt or the armband, I personally will do it.”

Kouyate is set to be involved in Thursday’s match at Everton where a win for the home side would clinch their place in next season’s Premier League.

The Toffees’ form at Goodison Park has kept alive their hopes of survival with four wins from their last six fixtures there but Brentford did manage to triumph on Merseyside on Sunday despite having a firework display set off outside their hotel room on the Saturday night.

“We are travelling tomorrow morning. That is nothing to do with what has been going on the last couple of weeks. It was (always) the plan,” Vieira said with a smile.

“I’m not surprised because I played in Italy and that is what football sometimes can be.

“That is the passion as well from the fans, trying to support the team in one way or try to impress the opposing team in another way to try to disrupt their preparation. But that is passion, I will call it.”

The Eagles boss also talked up the work of old midfield sparring partner Frank Lampard at Everton since his January arrival.

Victories over Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester during the past two months followed a run of six defeats in seven games.

Ex-Arsenal captain Vieira admitted: “It’s always a challenge going to a place where they’ve just changed manager. There’s a lack of confidence and belief from the players about their ability to perform and to win.

“Frank’s objective was to keep them up since the first day he went there. If he manages to do that, I think it will be a success for him.”


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