Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira admits he is bracing himself for boos as the former Arsenal captain takes his side to face Tottenham… as he looks to secure the double over London rivals
- Tottenham Hotspur welcome Crystal Palace in a Boxing Day London derby
- The match sees Patrick Vieira take to the away dugout against an old adversary
- Vieira knows there will be a heated reception for him as a former Arsenal captain
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira is braced for boos from the Tottenham fans when his side visit their fellow London club on Boxing Day.
The Eagles are set to make the short trip across the capital this weekend to face Spurs and the 45-year-old knows the type of reception he is likely to receive.
Vieira spent nine years as a player at Arsenal and captained them to Premier League success at the home of arch-rivals Tottenham in 2004.
Patrick Vieira is ready for a hostile reception when he takes Crystal Palace to Tottenham
‘I am expecting more than just a couple of boos,’ the Gunners great said with a smile.
‘Tottenham is a really difficult place to go, the atmosphere, the players’ energy when they play at home, it is really good.
‘We know what to expect so what is important for us is to play with courage, to play with confidence and belief to give ourselves the best chance to get the result. We know it will be difficult but we can make it as well difficult for them.’
Spurs lost 3-0 at Selhurst Park in September but have since replaced Nuno Espirito Santo with Antonio Conte.
The Italian has turned Tottenham into a different proposition and their distance covered per game has markedly improved.
Vieira added: ‘This is a team who plays with a lot of energy. When you look at their front players, it is not just about the running they are doing but it is about the intensity they are playing the game.
The former Arsenal captain led the Gunners during a period of dominance in the top flight
‘It is about how good they are to create chances and score goals. Yes, we expect a tough challenge but we will be at our best. We will work hard and be ready to compete.’
Palace manager Vieira is also prepared to see a better version of Harry Kane even though the England captain has only scored twice in the Premier League this season.
The Spurs forward endured an afternoon to forget in south London, but his level of performance has raised since Conte arrived.
‘We did our homework in the last couple games he played for Spurs,’ Vieira said of Kane.
‘I think he is getting back to his best and he will be a different player this time.’
James McArthur (hamstring) will be absent for Palace, who are set to lose three players to the African Cup of Nations in January.
Cheikhou Kouyate will link up with hosts Senegal while Wilfried Zaha has been included in the Ivory Coast squad and Jordan Ayew is in the Ghana travelling party.
Dakar-born Vieira, who represented France at international level, has no problem losing the trio for potentially a whole month and called for more coverage of the tournament.
Vieira celebrates with Thierry Henry after Arsenal secure the title at White Hart Lane
‘If there was more coverage of that competition, people would understand how important it is for the African continent,’ he insisted.
‘I respect and understand the passion and importance of those players going to represent their country and nation.
‘I will never stop any player going to play the African Cup of Nations. I believe that competition has to be more respected because this competition is as important as the European Championship.’