Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira admitted it hurt to see his Crystal Palace side concede a last-gasp equaliser that cost him a win on his return to Arsenal.

The Frenchman won three Premier League titles and captained the Gunners during their unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ campaign and his name rang around the Emirates Stadium before and after a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead early on but from then on Palace were the better side as Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard struck in the second half to seemingly win the game – only for substitute Alexandre Lacazette to level at the death.

Patrick Vieira had pumped the air in celebration at both of Palace’s goals but was left down on his haunches as Lacazette peeled away in jubilation at his late equaliser.

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‘It was so close, but we’ve been saying that a little bit too often,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘We have to learn from the games that we’ve played previously.

‘We’re disappointed because I think in the second half, the way that the team came back and played – those players are really disappointed because they deserved to win that game.

‘I’m really frustrated for them because they played well. They were really brave, they showed a lot of character and at the end, to concede a goal like that, it was unlucky really. I’m really disappointed for my players.

‘The way we played, with character, is positive for the rest of the season, but at the other side we conceded those goals on set pieces, on the second phases, and we need to work on that.’

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‘These games will make us stronger. A performance like that allowed me to be more demanding of the players and go back to the field and improve ourselves again.’

He later told BBC Five Live: ‘This is the part of the game we wanted to improve, being aggressive. lt’s part of the DNA of Crystal Palace. We knew Arsenal like to play balls in between and if the timing was good we’d create chances.

‘Christian Benteke has been working really hard, he knows how to score goals it’s just been a difficult period for him so I’m really happy for him.’

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