• While Wilfried Zaha, Odsonne Edouard and Michael Olise were unable to make an early breakthrough for the Eagles, Solly March’s goal proved decisive, with the winger clinically finishing into the bottom left corner from Kaoru Mitoma’s incisive pass.
• Roberto de Zerbi’s side always looked the more accomplished after that and move level on 42 points with sixth-placed Liverpool, while they are six behind Tottenham in fourth, with two games in hand.
Patrick Vieira says his Crystal Palace side need to change their “mindset” to end their 11-game winless run that has dragged them towards a relegation battle.
Palace have managed just four goals since the turn of the year and only fellow strugglers Everton, Wolves and Southampton have scored less than the Eagles’ 21 goals this term.
A third consecutive 1-0 defeat, on Wednesday against a Brighton side chasing European football, followed a frustratingly familiar pattern for Vieira with his side spurning three good chances to take control of the game in the opening 10 minutes and missing two gilt-edged chances to level.
“We were aggressive enough but with a lack of talent at times, killer instinct and ruthlessness to put the ball in the net,” said Vieira.
“The problem is we don’t score those goals and we don’t make the right decisions in the last third. It is confidence.
“We showed the character and personality and played some really good football at times. When you look at those aspects, it’s positive.
“But the most important is to score and we have to keep being positive and change our mindset, especially the front players. The players need to understand those opportunities are important.”
While Wilfried Zaha, Odsonne Edouard and Michael Olise were unable to make an early breakthrough for the Eagles, Solly March’s goal proved decisive, with the winger clinically finishing into the bottom left corner from Kaoru Mitoma’s incisive pass.
Roberto de Zerbi’s side always looked the more accomplished after that and move level on 42 points with sixth-placed Liverpool, while they are six behind Tottenham in fourth, with two games in hand.
The result will only deepen concerns at Palace, who sit 12th in the table but just three points above the bottom three.
However, Vieira had few complaints about the performance of goalkeeper Joe Whitworth on his Palace debut — a memorable night for the 19-year-old as he deputised for the injured Vicente Guaita.
The teenager, who grew up as an Eagles supporter and was also a club ball boy, was given little chance by March’s unerring finish but kept his side in the game after the break by superbly saving Pervis Estupinan’s low shot and an Alexis Mac Allister header.
“There was no doubt about his confidence,” Vieira added. “He is a confident young player who knows the club up and down. He showed he has talent.”
Having pressed and pressurised Brighton into several early mistakes, the visitors could and should have been well ahead by the time March opened the scoring in the 15th minute.
Zaha’s wriggling run through the home defence caused Seagulls goalkeeper Jason Steele to readjust hastily to prevent an opening-minute goal for the visitors. But their was a distinct lack of conviction shown with the chances then presented to French forward Edouard - who headed wide under no pressure — and Olise’s attempt that Steele saved with the winger converging on goal.
Joachim Andersen’s tame effort and substitute Naouirou Ahamada’s late miss — dragging a shot wide with the full goal to aim at - summed up a miserable night for Palace in attack.
While this was far from Brighton at their brilliant best, they still got the job done in a manner that their fans have become accustomed to - by attempting to dominate possession. A sign of the Seagulls’ progress in recent weeks can be seen by the attitude in the stands, with draws at Leeds and in the reverse fixture against Palace now viewed as dropped points.
And had they not had a goal incorrectly ruled out by VAR for offside at Selhurst Park last month, their European hopes would be even greater. As it was, De Zerbi was able to rest Adam Webster and Evan Ferguson for the majority of the contest and still see his side eke out a valuable three points courtesy of March, who is enjoying his best goalscoring return in a season.
The 28-year-old, who also scored in last weekend’s draw at Leeds, provided a useful nudge to Gareth Southgate, who names his latest England squad on Thursday.
“Every English player wants to work towards playing for their national team,” March said. “It would be an honour but I have to keep doing what I am doing and let’s see what happens.”