Patrick Vieira backed Newcastle United to challenge for European football this season – after making an admission about St James’s Park.
Vieira’s Crystal Palace side left the stadium with a hard-fought point from a goalless draw yesterday.
And Vieira, who believed that referee Michael Salisbury was correct to rule against his side’s own goal, was questioned if the team is now a “different proposition” in the wake of the club’s takeover and Eddie Howe’s hiring as head coach in the latter part of last year.
“Of course, yes. It will be difficult for other clubs coming here to acquire anything, according to what they invested and their ambition, according to Palace’s head coach.
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They have a pretty powerful team, and I believe this is one of the squads that will contend for European football.
When asked why, Vieira cited the investment and high level of quality as reasons. They have a good management, and I think they’ll be among the clubs that are close to Europe.
Since Howe took over as manager in November of last year, only Manchester City and Liverpool have triumphed at St James’s Park. Vieira, who calls the venue one of his “favourite grounds” as a player, believes this isn’t surprising.
To be really honest with you, this is one of my favourite stadiums, remarked the former Arsenal midfielder.
They are so successful at home because of the atmosphere, which is among the greatest in the nation, in my opinion. There is love and there is passion. It will be challenging for any visiting teams.