Patrick Vieira persists proud - and so should the rest of South London
(Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA - Getty Images)

Patrick Vieira deluged his pride towards his players after a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea left Crystal Palace pondering what could have been in the FA Cup semi-final on Easter Sunday.

The south Londoners kept their western rivals silent for the majority of the game at Wembley Stadium, with the likes of Mason Mount being reduced to attempts from too far out to trouble Jack Butland. 

It wasn't until the 65th minute that The Blues took the lead, after a spell of fortune at one end and misfortune at the other gave Reuben Loftus-Cheek a chance to drive home a volley.

The goal, unfortunately for Crystal Palace, signalled the beginning of the end, with Mason Mount adding a second with 13 minutes left on the clock.

Despite this, though, Palace's soul never died, and there were lots to take away from the game as they look to build on their promising start to life under Patrick Vieira

  • A lot to learn; a lot to be positive about

“We tried to play our best but Chelsea were too good on the day for us,” said Vieira. “We tried to frustrate them and we managed to do that in the first half.

“We tried our best but it wasn’t enough against a really good side.

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“Big games like that against those types of teams, when you are in a really good period you have to take those chances, and we didn’t score.

"We had those couple of chances, but also a couple of situations where we didn’t find our front two quick enough, so they were closing the gap straight away. We didn’t always make the right decision, but I’m really proud of the team’s approach.

"In the first half, we were brilliant.”

  • Palace will fight on

Easter Sunday was a day to remember nevertheless for Crystal Palace, who showed their endless value on and off the pitch. South London came together to portray passion in every stretch of the imagination.

Resilience also filtered through the team at the national stadium, and it was a courageous effort from Palace, who perhaps showed their passion best through the personality of young Tyrick Mitchell.

The left-sided defender felt at fault for the opener, and his teammates were quick to console the academy graduate following the deadlock breaker. 

"He will be okay," said Vieira when asked about the situation Mithcell found himself in. 

"Those kind of games will build him and how to manage his emotion. The more games he plays like that, the better it will be for him and for the rest of the young players we have.

“The way they moved the ball in the second half we ran quite a lot and at times we got a little bit frustrated. We start putting not so much pressure on the ball and Jorginho starts to get on the ball, it allowed him to make a better decision.

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“We had some issues on the right-hand side where Reece [James] was getting on the ball too much. We were suffering because our front two were working really hard.

"It [bringing on Jordan Ayew and moving to 5-4-1] allowed us to have a midfield four and have a bit more support from the side. But on the other side, we dropped a little bit too much and it allowed Jorginho to get a little more on the ball.

“This is the team [Chelsea] that won the Champions League and FA Cup – they are at a different level than us. I’m proud of the way we approached the game and made it difficult for them.

“We have to build from those kind of performances.”

Regardless of the result on the day, south London should remain proud and optimistic about what's to come from Crystal Palace. From the unrelenting noise that bellowed from their end to the red and blue mist that floated across the pitch for the full 90 minutes, The Eagles proved that they're the soul of London.

While the players on the pitch gave it their all to secure Palace their second FA Cup final in six years, the backing they received from the travelling Selhurst Park meant that it wasn't only the players that felt exhausted by the end.

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Crystal Palace has long been known for its atmosphere, through both the highs and the lows. Under Patrick Vieira, they have already shown unwavering signs of moving the club to the next level.

The club remains integral to the community of south London, and while the squad and their fans have outlined an unbreakable bond in the Frenchman's first season, it promises even better days to come.

"I'm in a really good place," Vieira told the media. "I'm at a wonderful football club with good people who want to take the club to another level."

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