Vieira insists Roma-linked Zaha is happy at Palace , Latest Football News - The New Paper

Vieira insists Roma-linked Zaha is happy at Palace

Media reports in the UK may have linked Crystal Palace's star player Wilfred Zaha with a move to AS Roma, but Eagles manager Patrick Vieira insisted on Thursday (July 14) that the forward is happy at the club.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Friday's clash against Liverpool in Singapore, the Frenchman said: "We are in a period of speculation. What is important for me and the football club is that Wilfred has come back on time and he's working well to have a good season. That is what is important.

"What is going on in the papers is hard for us to control. What I know is that he's happy in our football club and he's looking forward to having a good season."

Zaha, who scored 14 goals in 33 appearances in the English Premier League last season, did not make the trip here, along with several other players.

A move to Roma, who are coached by Jose Mourinho, will present an opportunity to play in the Europa League next season.

Zaha has been a pivotal part of the Eagles' side. Last season, he helped Palace finish 12th in the league and reach the FA Cup semi-finals after a tough start to their campaign.

While Vieira admitted that the upcoming season will be tougher than the previous one, he stressed that the club will look to keep improving the squad.

There may be a question mark over the future of Zaha, while Vieira also said it was unlikely that they will see the return of midfielder Connor Gallagher - who is back at Chelsea after completing an impressive loan spell - but Palace have already started recruiting for the next season.

Mali midfielder Cheick Doucoure has moved to Selhurst Park from Lens after excelling in Ligue 1 last season as the French side finished seventh.

Vieira said: "Obviously when the market is still open, we are like every other team in the Premier League who try to bring players. We wanted to bring a couple of players and Cheick is one of them. We will always try to improve the squad."

The former Arsenal captain knows that Friday's game against Liverpool will be tough. Besides Zaha, other key players such as Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi and Michael Olise are also not in their 26-man squad.

But he insisted that this was still an important part of the team's preparations for the season and backed his young players to get the most out of the experience.

He said: "As a manager the best preparation would be to have all the players around. But we are happy to be here and play Liverpool tomorrow. It's part of the process to go through, we need to leave players behind. Some need to catch up with training, some need to stay at home to play football matches. For younger players, it's a good experience.

"We are facing a team that will be there at the top to challenge the title. This will give me a good idea of where we are."

eplliverpoolWilfried ZahaPatrick VieiraFOOTBALL MATCHEScrystal palace