Patrick Vieira has heaped praise on attacking midfielder Michael Olise, who ‘changed the game’ for Crystal Palace against Millwall.
The Premier League side reached the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 victory at The Den. However, they did not have it all their own way.
Millwall went ahead in the 17th minute as Benik Afobe got his sixth goal of the campaign. This gave Millwall hope of achieving another giant killing, following victories over Everton and Leicester in recent years.
But Olise was on hand to turn the tie around. He beat Millwall keeper George Long with a curling effort just after the break, before setting up Palace’s winner.
Olise put a good cross in for striker Jean-Philippe Mateta, and the Frenchman did the rest by heading home.
After the match, Vieira said of Olise (via football.london): “He was fantastic in the second half. I think he changed the game for us. His first 15 minutes in the second half was really good and he showed his talent and that’s what was good for us as a team.
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“Michael scored one, hit the post and created the second. It’s one of his strengths in the one vs one. [Mateta] scoring is good for his confidence.”
Olise has featured 13 times in the Premier League this season but is yet to complete a full 90 minutes.
When asked if Olise’s performance could see him earn more league starts, Vieira continued: “It will give him more time to play in the Premier League. First and second half it is two different players. There is fantastic potential but he needs time to develop himself and those games will help him. We know how good he can be but it is important to improve that talent.”
‘Great atmosphere’ – Olise thanks Palace fans
Goalscorer Olise said: “It was a tough start to the game and at half time we said we needed to respond and show more fight – and we did that in the second half. We did what we know how to do and the quality came through.
“The gaffer just told us to go out there, express ourselves and play well, fight – and that’s we did. The Palace fans were great throughout the whole game, the atmosphere was great.”
Palace will now turn their attention back to the Premier League. They travel to Brighton on Friday evening, before hosting Liverpool at Selhurst Park.