Frank de Boer could face axe

September 07, 2017
Frank de Boer, manager of Crystal Palace FC.

 

Frank de Boer is just three Premier League games into his time at Crystal Palace and already there are echoes of his ill-fated stint at Inter Milan.

His initial pledge was to play a more attractive brand of football and to "dominate" games. A puzzling start-of-season switch of formation to a three-man defence. Disappointing early results and sudden revisionism over whether he is the right man for the job.

De Boer lasted 84 days at Inter before getting fired by the team's Chinese owners, leading to the Dutchman to Twitter to express his view that "this task required more time to move forward".

The good news for De Boer is that he's lasted longer at Palace than he did at the Italian club. The bad news? The widespread reports, not to mention alarming bookmakers' odds, suggesting Palace's board might already be having reservations about De Boer's suitability at the perennial Premier League struggler.

 

Looked uncomfortable

 

Palace have started the Premier League with three straight losses - at against Huddersfield and Swansea, and at Liverpool - and have yet to score a goal.

In the two home losses, Palace's players have looked uncomfortable adapting to De Boer's possession-based approach, which is a giant leap from the pragmatism, directness and counter-attacking favoured by previous manager Sam Allardyce.

De Boer is an odds-on favourite with some British bookmakers to become the first Premier League manager to leave his post, and reportedly held talks with chairman Steve Parish on Monday.

Another Palace loss on Saturday, at a Burnley side with a strong home record since returning to the Premier League for the 2015-16 season, would leave the club's American owners David Blitzer and Josh Harris with a big decision to make.

Can they hold their nerve and keep a long-term view of things? Because time is clearly what De Boer needs.

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