For Crystal Palace fans, seeing the team 2-0 up at half-time to an almost relegated Everton was a delight. It was yet another good away performance, and had most Palace fans in attendance feeling very good indeed. When the stat started flying around that Everton had never come back from two goals down at half-time to win in the Premier League, victory felt assured.
Anyone who has followed Palace for even a season, though, knows that this club has a habit of bucking such trends. This became dreadfully apparent when Everton came flying out the traps, scoring an early goal. It put the Blues back in contention for the match, and the Eagles simply wilted. They looked terrible for much of the second half, and were quickly called out by coach Patrick Vieira.
The fact the game turned around to end 3-2 to the Merseyside team was seen as frankly embarrassing by all involved. Such a capitulation never looked on the cards, but it only took one haymaker from Everton to send Palace careering around the proverbial ring. It was a poor moment for the team in general, but Vieira looked fuming on the sidelines.
The coach, who had to deal with an Everton fan accosting him as the Toffees spilled onto the pitch in their celebrations are a survival-ensuring win, was fuming at the end of the game. Though the coach has been quick to take some of the flak for other letdown performances this year, he was having none of it at full-time.
As the drama came out regarding his altercation with said fan, Vieira brushed the issue aside and spoke more about the poor second half performance.
What did Patrick Vieira say about the Palace capitulation up at Everton?
The Eagles have enjoyed a good season for the most part, but it is clear that sometimes the team has been let down by their own hubris. Too often this young side has gotten carried away with itself, losing momentum with the flick of a switch. It has become a problem and, with the average age of the team so young, it is also a tough problem to solve for Vieira.
Despite trying to offer some kind of explanation, though, he let rip at this team after the game. In his post-match interview, the former Arsenal man was asked if it was more of a Palace defeat than an Everton win. On that, he noted: “Yeah, but they have to believe and they believed they had the chance and they deserve credit because they didn’t give up. But the way we controlled and we managed the game in the first half – we completely lost control of the game and this is why it’s important to look at ourselves and try to improve. But those kinds of games will make us better for the future.”
He also pulled the team up for losing focus on the match and turning to exhibition play, saying: “I think the way we played in the first half the midfield three against their two midfielders – I think we moved the ball well and we made it very difficult for them and they never really managed to close us down and that allowed us to score those two goals and when things were going well we started to showboat a little bit.
“We stopped playing simple and this is how we lost control of the game and that comes with maturity and with discipline and there’s a lot to take from the game today.”
For Palace, then, it is back to the drawing board to try and rebuild their self-belief after a demoralising loss.