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Vieira insists he is focused on Prem despite FA Cup semi looming



Patrick Vieira is refusing to be sidetracked by Crystal Palace’s upcoming trip to Wembley ahead of Sunday’s match with Leicester.

The Eagles travel to King Power Stadium this weekend to play their penultimate fixture before an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Easter Sunday.

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After an outstanding 3-0 win over Arsenal on Monday, Palace are ninth in the Premier League table and level on points with Leicester, who are 10th but with two games in hand.

“No, it is not in my thinking and not in the players’ thinking,” Vieira said when asked about Wembley.

“It will not have an impact on the starting XI I am going to choose. We have time to think about the FA Cup. The main focus is about Leicester and putting (out) the best squad to win the game.

“We try to find the best way to prepare for the game and the best way is to play well, perform well and of course if we manage to win it will give us more confidence (for Chelsea) but nothing will change.

“We are really excited about this semi-final but we will have time to think about it and prepare well after the Leicester game.”

Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes were in European action in midweek and Palace could find themselves with that luxury were they to win this season’s FA Cup.

Current rules ensure the FA Cup winners claim a place in the Europa League, but UEFA are drawing up proposals to reform the Champions League from the 2024-25 season.

It plans to reserve two places in Europe’s elite competition for clubs based on historic coefficient rather than league position in the previous campaign. It could theoretically mean one of England’s so-called big six being able to qualify for the Champions League by winning the FA Cup even though if Palace achieved that feat, it would only earn them a Europa League position.

Vieira added: “I believe that will kill the game to be honest with you.

“European competition has to be given to teams by merit and by what they achieved during the season. If you start to give places to teams because of history, I think (you) better go into the Super League.”

Palace travel to the east midlands on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but the former Nice boss is eager for more from his team.

“Of course the game we played against Arsenal was positive but there are still some aspects we need to improve,” Vieira pointed out.

“You are looking at how we managed the game and of course until we scored that third goal, it was quite good but after it was how did we manage the last 20 minutes? I think we could do a little bit better and concede less chances.

“Arsenal had a couple of chances in the last 20 minutes and this is part of playing well but still being really demanding of the players.

“I was really satisfied with the performance and really happy but yes we want to improve and be more consistent game after game. We also want to be more consistent from the first minute until the last.”

Michael Olise (foot) and Nathan Ferguson (hamstring) are expected to miss out for Palace but boss Vieira has no other injury concerns.

The post Vieira insists he is focused on Prem despite FA Cup semi looming appeared first on Football365.

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