Patrick Vieira: Attack is where Crystal Palace must improve
(Sebastian Frej/MB Media - Getty Images)

Patrick Vieira has pinpointed Crystal Palace's attacking efforts as a requisite for improvement over the coming weeks after he watched his side fail to score a Premier League goal for the second successive week.

A visit from newly-promoted Brentford on Saturday afternoon was the Frenchman's second taste of top-flight management in England, and after the disappointment of a 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, Palace's performance was far greater. 

The free-flowing football that the new manager has aimed to instil at the club looked all the more polished, while the players looked far more confident in playing out from the back.

Elsewhere, defensive aptitude was on display at a sold-out Selhurst Park, with Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi forming an unyielding partnership in the heart of the defence, but echoes of a Roy Hodgson-like attacking dilemma still percolated with ominous pertinence. 

  • Conor Gallagher with a debut to remember

After the game, Vieira was quick to heap praise on Conor Gallagher, insisting that Palace's poor finishing was through no fault of the Epsom-born midfielder's fault.

“I think Conor had a really good game,” Vieira said in his post-match press conference. “I think he was unlucky not to score the chance that he created. He was full of energy on the field.

“The club worked really hard to bring him to Palace, and there was a couple of clubs around him. I was really pleased we convinced him to come to us; he will be an important player for this football club."

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If it hadn't been for his touch taking him just wide of the six-yard box in the opening ten minutes, Gallagher's angle to score would have been better, but instead, the post was rattled following Palace's greatest opportunity of the game.

Although Gallagher couldn't mark his debut with an elusive goal, he left the pitch knowing he had done all he could to leave his mark on a vociferous Selhurst Park. 

The box-to-box midfielder covered every blade of grass. Getting back, making tackles, winning the ball and bringing it forward with purpose, Gallagher was by far the best player on the pitch, and his energy to be everywhere was nothing short of magical for the returning Eagle fans. 

But as an analytical manager would, Vieira couldn't help but ponder over the problems his team experienced in finishing their lack of chances. 

  • End-product needs developing

“This is a side of the game we need to work on. Looking at the way we approach the game, the way we play with intensity, we try to get out from the pressure and play the second ball. I think the team's performance was positive," Vieira lamented.

Being limited to just two shots on target throughout the entirety of the game on Saturday developed concerns from the stands that the Eagles still haven't found a goalscoring formula. 

The positive, though, is that Vieira knows where to improve, and he will look at ironing out the attacking incapabilities his squad is facing in recent weeks.

"This is one of the sides of the game that we need to improve is to have more players inside the box.

"I think, at times, Christian [Benteke] was isolated. I think if we had players around him it would be a bit easier for him. But that is one of the sides of the game that we need to work on."

  • Eagles still in the market for a striker?

With little over a week left of the summer transfer window, there are still rumours cropping up over Palace's desire to add to their offensive cohort. Among the many names that have been linked with a switch to SE25, Odsonne Edouard of Celtic is a player who keeps doing the rounds.

The French striker, who scored 18 goals in 31 Scottish Premiership appearances last season, would give Benteke an ideal striker partner to pose more of a threat to opposing defences. 

And although Palace's pursuit of Adam Armstrong fell through, it indicated that Steve Parish and Dougie Freedman are keeping tabs on a striking option that differs from what Benteke offers. 

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The isolated Belgian won seven aerial duels against Brentford, showing that his stature can prove vital for moving the ball up the pitch, but his winnings often ended up back in the possession of a yellow shirt.

A smaller and faster striker alongside Benteke could complement the Belgian, providing Palace with a plan B in attack. If the Eagles fail to delve into the market for a striker, Vieira may perhaps look at other ways of getting Benteke more involved in the game. Both Zaha and Schlupp were hugging the touchline for large periods of the game, leaving the striker in a solitary position. 

  • Vieira happy with how he is embedding his philosophy into the team

When asked whether he thought his team were getting used to the philosophy that he was aiming to instil, Vieira replied: "I think so."

"We have an identity and we try to build a philosophy of playing, obviously. But at times you can't play because your opposition put you under pressure. So you just have to find a way to get out of the pressure. But the thing that I was really pleased with today was the concentration, the positive attitude from the players on the field.

"I think the players - with the support of the fans- tried to win the game. Obviously, we didn't score the goals. And we have to keep working on having more people inside the box to allow ourselves to score more goals. 

"But when you look at the last game that we play against Chelsea [and] the game today, we improved on the performance. We have to keep working because there's still a lot of elements that need to improve. I'm really happy with the players' attitude in training the way they're working. 

"And that performance has to be a benchmark for us. And that will allow us to improve ourselves and to win football matches because, at the end of the day, we need to win games."

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