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Crystal Palace’s Zaha 'used to support Arsenal' & 'meeting Vieira was crazy’

15:19 EAT 27/11/2021
Wilfred Zaha
The 29-year-old winger reveals how he first met with the Gunners’ legend and how he has helped turn things around at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has explained how he first met with Patrick Vieira before he became his coach at the Premier League club.

The 29-year-old Ivory Coast international has been one of the key performers at the club, who have helped the Arsenal legend post good results since arriving at Selhurst Park.

In fact, they are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run, the longest in the Premier League at the moment.

Zaha has explained the relationship he has with the former France midfielder since his appointment and revealed how he met him before his arrival at Selhurst Park.

“You know what’s funny, I’ve seen him before at Winter Wonderland! I saw him with his daughters, and we had a conversation. Obviously, he’s a legend - I used to support Arsenal - so meeting him was crazy,” Zaha told the club’s official website.

“He spoke to me as he likes me as a player so it’s crazy that later on he’s become, my manager. It’s a bit surreal because when a legendary player becomes your manager there’s so much you can take from him.

"It’s different when you’ve actually seen them play because you buy into what they say more because they understand the game, they’ve done it before.

“I feel the pressure to do more and do better because he expects me to. I feel like I perform better under pressure because if it was easy things start to go a bit pear-shaped without the pressure on myself.

"Every day he’s demanding more and more from me. Sometimes it’s annoying, but he wants the best from me so I just try to do my best.”

Zaha further reveals the team’s recent run of good results is thanks in part to the tactics implemented by new manager Vieira.

“He has a lot of ideas,” Zaha continued. “There’s a lot of intricate details.

“I feel like if you just buy into it, as everyone has, you can see it makes a massive difference. The whole team is willing to learn new things and I feel like that’s why it’s changed so quickly because everyone’s willing to change and understand the new techniques and the new things we can be doing to improve our game.

“I’ll be honest, it hasn’t [been easy to immediately understand every idea]. There’s been sessions where we don’t understand anything, but once you do it a few times it starts to make sense.

“There are a few sessions where we’re looking at each other like: ‘what is this?’ Then after a few sessions, you start to understand and then implement it into games.”

Zaha will hope to continue his goal-scoring form when they take on Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on Sunday.