During some difficult years at Selhurst Park, Benteke often watched the striker’s shadow which scared defenders upon his arrival in England.
The Belgian has managed just 16 goals in 101 Premier League appearances over the past four seasons, but he has been revitalized under Vieira and has scored four goals in his last five starts.
Benteke is more like his old self. No longer isolated as he often was under Roy Hodgson, the 30-year-old is taking advantage of how Vieira has transformed the style of play at Palace and shows he can still be effective after many wrote him off .
Benteke is expected to lead the line at Leeds tonight when he looks to build on his good form.
Only Alan Shearer (15) and Wayne Rooney (13) have scored more Premier League goals than Benteke (12) on a Tuesday, a bizarre statistic that Palace is hoping to bode well.
Hodgson deserves some credit for his return to form. Benteke started turning a corner under Hodgson earlier this year, scoring four goals in his last four Premier League appearances last season before signing another two-year contract extension this summer.
But he looks transformed under Vieira.
“I’m really happy with Christian’s form right now,” Vieira said. “I think he works very well, works hard for the team and most of all, he scores goals.
“He plays with a lot of confidence. I think the way we play, the amount of possession we have, allows him to touch the ball a little more, create more chances and the fact that we wanted to defend higher. on the pitch allowed him to be more involved in the game and I think that suits him.
During a summer of upheaval at the Palace, Benteke secured a new contract even before a new manager was appointed.
Benteke has a good relationship with President Steve Parish and is keen to give him back the trust that has been placed in him since Palace paid Liverpool £ 27million in 2016.
His performances this season are starting to do just that and Benteke keeps Odsonne Edouard’s £ 15million summer signing out of the squad.
Vieira, however, doesn’t want him to stop now and has set himself a goal of hitting double digits for consecutive seasons after scoring 10 in the Premier League last season.
The director of the Palace also challenged him to improve his decision-making.
“He’s an international player, he has scored goals in the Premier League and has the experience to be one of the leaders of this team,” said Vieira.
“I always want him to do even more for the team because he has the potential and the quality to do it. We will have to be more and more demanding with him.
“I think it’s a goal goal and the assists he can do. It’s about decision making, I think he can be better at his decision making and that will help the team to play better and create more opportunities.
“I think I’ll be happy if he hits double-digit numbers, I think he can do that easily.”