Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has played down his rivalry with Tottenham but admitted former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry is on a different level to the “fantastic” Harry Kane.
The Eagles boss spent nine seasons with the Gunners and won three Premier League titles, including one as captain which was clinched at the old home of Spurs in 2004.
Vieira will face Tottenham for the first time as a manager on Saturday and despite repeated questions during his pre-game press conference was eager to insist he bears no ill feelings towards Arsenal’s fiercest rivals.
A challenge for the 45-year-old’s team will be to stop England captain Kane, who has scored 166 Premier League goals and is nine off Henry’s top-flight record.
“Kane can finish inside box, outside box, he can create chances. He is a modern number nine and can change position,” Vieira said when asked about the Spurs striker in comparison to his old team-mate.
“But Thierry Henry, I am sorry he is in a different level. I love Kane, he is a fantastic player but Thierry is still Thierry.”
Vieira is still waiting for a first win in charge of the Eagles, but saw his side produce an encouraging display to draw 2-2 away to West Ham before the international break.
Quizzed on if it would mean more to claim a maiden win as Palace boss against Tottenham, the former midfielder was keen not to be drawn into that debate.
He added: “No, no, no, no. I am not a player anymore so this kind of rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham is in the past.
“The fact I used to play for Arsenal against Tottenham, it is not important for me and will not be important tomorrow.
“It is an important game. We play at home and we want to do well, want to win and take the three points.”
Spurs have made a great start to life under Nuno Espirito Santo, who was strongly linked with the vacant position at Palace in the summer before he accepted the role at the north London club.
Three consecutive 1-0 wins has Tottenham at the Premier League summit and Vieira praised the job of his opposite number
“He is doing fantastically well. When you start in a new club, you win the first three games and didn’t concede a goal, it is difficult to do better than that,” the Eagles boss admitted.
“It will be a really good challenge for us. We went to West Ham, a difficult place, and played with a lot of personality. Now the challenge will be the same.
“We are playing the team that are top at the moment, who are playing well. I am really looking forward to it and we are ready to give them a good game.”
Palace had a busy end to the transfer window, signing midfielder Will Hughes and forward Odsonne Edouard from Watford and Celtic respectively.
The duo are in line to be involved against Spurs and summer recruit Michael Olise could also feature after he returned to training recently following a back injury.
Chairman Steve Parish described the club’s transfer business as a nine out of 10 with nine first-teamers moved on and seven players brought in.
Vieira said: “I believe we are still a little bit short in some places. We wanted to do a little bit more business and we couldn’t do it, but overall I am really satisfied with the business that we did.
“We bring in some young talent and I think we have the squad that can compete in the Premier League.”