Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira hails Chris Richards as ‘defensively very strong’


Crystal Palace head coach Patrick Vieira hails defender Chris Richards as ‘defensively very strong’ following his first Premier League start… but admits the USA star ‘needs more games to build his confidence’

  • Chris Richards had his first Premier League start for Crystal Palace Wednesday
  • The Eagles clinched a tie against Man Unites after Michael Olise’s late free kick 
  • Patrick Vieira was full of praise for the American defender following the game
  • Richards completed a $13million move to Palace from Bayern Munich in summer
  • Click here for all your latest international Sports news from DailyMail.com

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira was full of praise for USA star Chris Richards after handing him his first Premier League start. 

Richards, who completed a $13million move to Palace from Bayern Munich back in the summer, had only made five appearances for the English club prior to their clash with United with his three Premier League outings all coming as a substitute.

But that changed on Wednesday after the USA center-back was handed his first start against Manchester United, England’s most decorated club.

USA’s Chris Richards was handed his first Premier League start for Crystal Palace Wednesday

Eagles head coach Patrick Vieira was full of praise for the center-back following the tie

Eagles head coach Patrick Vieira was full of praise for the center-back following the tie

The defender impressed on his top-flight debut, particularly with a superb tackle on Antony in the first half.

And, his efforts were rewarded by the manager following the game as Vieira hailed Richards’ defensive talent but conceded the American needed more minutes to grow his confidence. 

‘He was really good. I think defensively he was really strong,’ said the Eagles head coach. 

‘Of course, you can see that he needs to play more games to build his confidence, but when he needed to defend, he did it really well.

The defender impressed on his top-flight debut, particularly with a superb tackle on Antony (L)

The defender impressed on his top-flight debut, particularly with a superb tackle on Antony (L)

‘We bought Chris knowing his strength and quality. He’s been really unlucky with a couple of injuries which didn’t allow him to train or play games. 

‘Now he’s fully fit, we know he’s a good defender, and he can play when we want to build from the back, so we just need to build his confidence now – but the quality is there.’

Palace salvaged a last-gasp draw on the night thanks to Michael Olise’s sensational stoppage-time free-kick, having fallen a goal behind two minutes before the interval when Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring.    

Richards was brought into Palace’s backline after first-choice defender Joachim Andersen damaged his calf in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat away at Chelsea.

Palace salvaged a last-gasp draw on the night thanks to Michael Olise's late free-kick

Palace salvaged a last-gasp draw on the night thanks to Michael Olise’s late free-kick

Andersen, who has featured in 17 of Palace’s 18 league matches this season, is expected to spend three weeks on the sidelines with the injury.

In his absence, Richards slotted in alongside Guehi at center-back and the former FC Dallas star certainly boosted his chances of making the spot his own.

Richards will hope to get another call up to the starting XI on Saturday when Palace host fourth-place Newcastle. 

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