By George Sessions, PA
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira talked up the potential of Michael Olise after he helped the Premier League side avoid an FA Cup upset at Millwall.
The summer signing was handed only his third start of the season in the third-round tie but barely got a kick in a first half where the Lions went ahead through Benik Afobe.
It was a different story after the break with Olise scoring inside 60 seconds with a curled effort that went in off the post before he set up Jean-Philippe Mateta for what proved the winner in the 58th minute.
“Michael was fantastic in the second half and I think he changed the game for us,” Vieira said.
“The first 15 minutes of the second half, he was really good and he showed his talent, so that was really good for us as a team.
“He scored one, hit the post and created the second one. He had a couple of chances where he went on his left foot and didn’t hit the target. This is one of his strengths, doing that and of course JP scoring is good for his confidence.”
A ferocious atmosphere awaited the Premier League side at the Den and the decibel levels were raised even more when Jack Butland lost possession in costly fashion inside his own penalty area after 17 minutes.
It allowed Afobe to tap home and increase hopes the Sky Bet Championship side could produce another FA Cup shock.
Olise had other ideas and despite only recently celebrating his 20th birthday, he brushed off an object being thrown at him from the stands to shush the Millwall supporters after Mateta’s winner and will hope for more Premier League starts now, especially with Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha away at the African Cup of Nations.
Vieira, on a bottle hitting Olise, added: “No, he didn’t talk about it.
“I think having Jordan at the African Cup of Nations, it will give him obviously more time to play in the Premier League.
“What is important is when you look at the first half and second half, it is two different players.
“It shows there is fantastic potential in the player but at the same time he needs time to keep developing himself. Those games he will play in the future will help him to develop.
“We know how good he can be and now what is important for us is to work together to improve that talent.”
Millwall manager Gary Rowett was left frustrated his team could not build on a fine start to the game.
“I thought we equipped ourselves very well for the vast majority of the game,” the Lions boss said.
“The first half we started really well and knew with the atmosphere at the Den, it was about making it an aggressive and good start which I thought we did.
“We looked good in and out of possession, scored a good goal. Butland took a little bit of time and we pinched it off him.
“So, we looked fine first half but second half you cannot start like that against a Premier League side and you can’t allow a player like Olise time like that.”
Both Rowett and Vieira condemned the numerous incidents to take place in the stands at the Den.
Millwall fans booed the visitors taking the knee before kick-off and repeatedly aimed homophobic chants at Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher. Bottles were also thrown at the Palace players after the second goal while the away fans let off numerous smoke bombs and threw a flare onto the pitch.
“I don’t think either of the clubs want to see any of those moments off the pitch but I am sure both will deal with those situations effectively,” Rowett insisted.
Vieira added: “We as a football club are against any kind of discrimination and of course this is not something we want to see on the field.”