Patrick Vieira involved in altercation with pitch invader after Everton defeat
Carl Recine

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira kicked out at an Everton fan who goaded him as thousands of supporters ran onto the Goodison Park pitch following the home side’s 3-2 win which secured their place in the Premier League.

Video footage emerged of a crowd member, who had entered the pitch, putting a camera phone in Vieira’s face as he walked across the pitch to the away dressing room after the game. At first, Vieira ignored the goading but then appeared to lash out at the fan.

I’ve got nothing to say on that,” Viera said on the incident. Everton manager Frank Lampard added: “I feel for Patrick. I didn’t get him at the end. I would have said: ‘Come in [to the tunnel] with us,’ although he might not have wanted that. Of course, he ran 80 yards across the pitch and it’s not easy.

The scenes came in a week littered with pitch invasions and highlighted their dangers. Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was headbutted by a Nottingham Forest supporter during a pitch invasion on Tuesday, after Forest had reached the Championship play-off final. Sharp was knocked to the ground and required stitches to his lip. The culprit has since pleaded guilty and been jailed for 24 weeks.

'I felt like crying'

At Goodison, Everton fans had invaded the pitch in the aftermath of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 85th-minute winner, which ensured Everton’s top-flight status. It leaves Burnley and Leeds United fighting for 17th place on the final day.

Lampard, who took charge at Everton in late January, admitted he felt like crying at the end of a roller-coaster evening in which his team trailed 2-0 at half-time, but transformed their fortunes after the break with three unanswered goals. The Everton manager led the post-match celebrations from the roof of one of the executive boxes in the main stand as a season’s worth of tension washed away.

It is one of the greatest moments of my footballing life and career,” Lampard said. “I have been very fortunate to have amazing times, especially at Chelsea as a player and a coach. But when you have the feelings and desperation of what relegation brings, it is different. You need to dig in. You lose games, you fight to do something and then you lose another game.

“People think you should fly up the table and it’s never that way. Coming in here 3½ months ago with my amazing staff and trying to affect things and getting a reaction from the players, from the fans and feeling unity when it looks split.

“This club is special and I am proud to be manager of Everton on this night. I thought I might cry [at full-time], I thought I might jump out of my body. Nobody can question the celebrations. It’s easy to say, ‘But you haven’t won anything’. You know what, come and work at this club and see what it means to people. An amazing night.”

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