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

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

  • Chris Richards made his first Premier League start for Crystal Palace on Wednesday
  • The Eagles drew against Man Unites after a late Michael Olise free-kick
  • Patrick Vieira was full of praise for the American defender after the game
  • Richards joined Palace from Bayern Munich for $13m in the summer
  • Click here for all your latest international sports news from DailyMail.com

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira has been full of praise for US star Chris Richards after giving him his first Premier League start.

Richards, who completed a $13m move from Bayern Munich to Palace in the summer, had only played five games for the English club before the United clash with his three Premier League games all coming as substitutes.

But that all changed on Wednesday after the USA centre-back made his first starting XI against Manchester United, England’s most successful club.

USA's Chris Richards received his first Premier League start for Crystal Palace on Wednesday

USA’s Chris Richards received his first Premier League start for Crystal Palace on Wednesday

Eagles head coach Patrick Vieira was full of praise for the central defender after the tie

Eagles head coach Patrick Vieira was full of praise for the central defender after the tie

The defender particularly impressed on his debut in the first division with an excellent tackle against Antony in the first half.

And his efforts were rewarded by the manager after the game as Vieira hailed Richards’ defensive talent but admitted the American needed more minutes to boost his confidence.

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

“Obviously you can see he needs to play more games to build his confidence but when he had to defend he did really well.

The defender particularly impressed in his first division debut with an excellent tackle against Antony (L)

The defender particularly impressed in his first division debut with an excellent tackle against Antony (L)

“We bought Chris because we knew his strength and quality. He was really unlucky with a couple of injuries that 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-second draw that night thanks to Michael Olise’s sensational injury-time free-kick after going a goal down two minutes before the break when Bruno Fernandes scored the opener.

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

Palace salvaged a last-minute draw thanks to a late Michael Olise free-kick

Palace salvaged a last-minute draw thanks to a late Michael Olise free-kick

Andersen, who has featured in 17 of Palace’s 18 league games this season, is expected to be sidelined for three weeks with the injury.

In his absence, Richards played alongside Guehi as a central defender and the former FC Dallas star certainly increased his chances of making the pitch his own.

Richards hopes to be called up again in the starting XI on Saturday when Palace host fourth-placed Newcastle.

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Maureen Mackey

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