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Crystal Palace have fired French manager Patrick Vieira after 20 months in charge as the club fears losing their coming relegation battle.
The Arsenal icon departs Selhurst Park with the Eagles in 12th place in the Premier League, just three points above the relegation zone.
The Eagles have not yet announced who would replace Vieira or take command of Sunday’s Premier League match against the Emirates.
Jesse Marsch, the former Leeds manager, and Ralph Hasenhuttl, the former Southampton manager, are the early frontrunners for the post, although a permanent replacement is unlikely to be in place before the Arsenal encounter. Vieira was fired on Friday, March 17, which happened to be St. Patrick’s Day.
Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson, and Said Aigoun from Vieira’s backroom team have also left Selhurst Park. Dean Kiely will continue to train goalkeepers.
‘Difficult Decision’ to Fire Viera – Steve Parish
“It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made,” Palace chairman Steve Parish revealed.
“Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change is necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status,” he said.
“That said, Patrick’s impact since joining us in the summer of 2021 has been significant, and he is held in the highest regard by myself, and all of his colleagues,” the chairman added.
“He led the team to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final and respectable 12th placed finish last season playing some exciting football, which was a challenging and crucial campaign for the club given the changes we made to the squad prior to his arrival,” Parish said.
“Patrick has given his all to the club, and we all thank him and his team for their service. We also wish Patrick, Osian, Kristian and Saïd the very best for their futures.”
Vieira was appointed by Palace to succeed former England manager Roy Hodgson in July 2021.
His first season at Selhurst Park was a success, with the Eagles finishing 12th in the Premier League and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, where they were defeated by Chelsea.
Stuttering Form Encouraged Viera Sacking
This season, Palace began brightly, winning five of their first 13 Premier League games, including a 2-1 triumph against London rivals West Ham. Despite this, they have only won one game since the World Cup in Qatar.
Vieira has lost his last 11 league games in charge.
Palace are now fighting to avoid relegation. The Londoners are just three points above the relegation zone and face a battle to stay up, as the bottom nine teams are still still alive. There are only five points between Southampton (20th) and Palace.
The 1-0 loss to rivals Brighton on Wednesday was the final straw for Vieira. Palace’s failure to score was his undoing. They have only scored 21 goals in the league this season, trailing just Wolves, Everton, and Southampton (all scored 20 goals).
“Of course when you create chances but don’t take them you worry about that,” said Vieira after the defeat to Brighton. “Our front players have to change their mindset. We have to be more aggressive going forward.”
Parish was encouraged to act as a result of the defeat. On Thursday night, rumors circulated that Palace’s chairman was seriously considering firing Vieira. Those rumors were proven to be correct.