Lampard offers Vieira support after Palace manager's altercation with Everton fan

Everton's late winner sparks pitch invasion in which Vieira appeared to aim a kick at an Everton fan taunting him

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Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in a confrontation with a fan on the pitch after the 3-2 defeat at Everton in which he appears to aim a kick at the man taunting him.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s winner with five minutes to go which secured the Toffees’ top-flight status with one match remaining prompted a small pitch invasion and a brief interruption in play but at the final whistle thousands streamed on to the field.

Footage posted on social media shows Vieira, unaccompanied by staff or security, making his way across the pitch towards the away dressing room which is housed in the Park End car park as a result of Covid protocols, when he is confronted by a fan who appears to gesture in the Frenchman’s face.

Vieira responds by first grabbing the man and then swinging a kick at him before other supporters come to his aid and usher him away.

The incident is likely to attract the interest of the English Football Association, as are the 85th-minute incursion and the scenes after the final whistle.

Vieira did not comment on the incident, which came to light after his post-match press conference, saying only that the referee “managed it really well”, but Everton counterpart Frank Lampard offered his support.

“I feel for Patrick. I didn’t get him at the end. I would have said, ‘come in with us’ – although he might not have wanted that.

“Of course he ran 80 yards across the pitch and it’s not easy.”

On the pitch invasion itself Lampard said: “It was pure elation of fans who have come on the pitch after avoiding relegation.

“If it is done in the right way let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem.”

Everton v Crystal Palace ratings

Lampard ranked escaping relegation as “possibly at the top” of his managerial career as Calvert-Lewin's late winner Everton secured a 69th consecutive campaign in England's top flight.

Having struggled all season to be in the situation where they were two matches away from potentially losing their long stay in England’s highest division, Lampard’s players made even more hard work of it in their final home game.

Poor defending allowed Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew both to score inside 36 minutes but a rousing second-half performance saw Michael Keane and Richarlison get the hosts back on level terms before Calvert-Lewin’s header five minutes from time prompted the first of two joyous mass pitch invasions.

“An incredible night. I have been playing a long time, coaching a relatively short time, and am fortunate to be part of amazing things and this is right up there,” said Lampard, who qualified for the Champions League with Chelsea.

“It’s right up there, possibly at the top. We had an amazing night at Leeds with Derby but this feeling was special: we didn’t win anything tonight but the feeling is special.”

Updated: May 20, 2022, 7:51 AM