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  • By Yann Tear

End of the road for Vieira as jittery Palace fret over relegation

Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat at Brighton proved to be the last straw for the Crystal Palace hierarchy as Patrick Vieira was relieved of his duties today.

The former Arsenal star was unable to turn the tide as his side slumped to a 12-game winless run and a failure to find the net four games in a row - they went three games without a shot on target - has ended his tenure.

Three members of Vieira's coaching staff - Osian Roberts, Kristian Wilson and Said Aigoun - have also left the club and the process of appointing a new manager is under way.

It is all a far cry from last season when optimism abounded and the Eagles developed an exciting brand of football under the French World Cup winner. Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise and Ebe Eze seemed to be taking the club in a thrilling new direction.

But the return of Conor Gallagher to parent club Chelsea took away some of the zest and dull, predictable football has followed. They have scored only five goals in the 12 played since a 2-0 New Year's Eve win at Bournemouth.

Although still somehow in 12th place, the Eagles are just three points above the drop zone and face a fight to preserve their status as a Premier League club. They travel to leaders Arsenal on Sunday.

Eagles chairman Steve Parish said: "It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made.

"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."

Parish added: "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.

"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. Patrick has given his all to the club, and we all thank him and his team for their service."

Vieira, 46, was appointed before the start of the 2021-22 season and led the Eagles to a 12th place finish. But this season they have scored just 21 goals in 27 games - only Wolves, Everton and bottom-of-the-table Southampton have fewer.

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