News filtered through on Monday afternoon that Crystal Palace sacked manager Frank de Boer, with Roy Hodgson being his likely replacement.
Although Palace lost all 4 games this season, scoring no goals, I still believe that de Boer shouldn’t have been sacked, and here are a couple of reasons why.
The players aren’t good enough
You could argue that the squad was not Frank de Boer’s squad.
Even though Allardyce resigned on May 23rd , as soon as the Premier League season came to a close, yet the Palace board didn’t name their new manager until 26th June, over a month later.
De Boer arrived just before Palace’s trip to Asia, without really having time to get to know his squad and input his style on the team.
You can argue that, although de Boer had 5 pre-season games to perfect his team, the players were simply not good enough for his style of play.
The likes of Benteke, Zaha and Townsend aren’t the type of players to knock the ball around and keep possession and look to unlock defences with slow patient build-up.
Now, is this de Boer’s fault or the players fault?
In terms of de Boer, the argument has been that he has to change his style of play to suit the players. But, in de Boer’s last game against Burnley, it seemed that he had changed his style.
The number of crosses the Eagles were pumping into the box was remarkable, and if it wasn’t for poor finishing, Palace would have come out of that game with at least a point.
Also, if it wasn’t for individual errors in numerous games, then Palace would not be pointless. The likes of Lee-chung Yong, Wayne Hennessey and Martin Kelly have all been involved individual errors, which the manager cannot be held accountable for, therefore, the finger must be pointed at the players.
The board is a mess
Secondly, the board haven’t helped de Boer out in anyway.
The first thing they should have done immediately, no matter who the manager was, is to buy Mamadou Sakho permanently.
Sakho was the shining light in the Palace squad last season, and was one of the key reasons why Palace are still a Premier League club today. The fact that de Boer had to wait until the last day of the season until Sakho signed is inexcusable, and if he was there since the first day of pre-season, de Boer would still be the manager.
Secondly, the appointment of Dougie Freedman really undermined de Boer’s position at the club.
Freedman was appointed as sporting director of the club on the 21st August.
With Freedman being sporting director, he would have a big advantage in deciding who was coming into the club in terms of transfers and would oversee a lot of first team duties, roles that de Boer would want a major say in.
There’s no doubt that the appointment of Freedman was one of the first signs that de Boer was under major pressure.
Thirdly, Steve Parrish had to do more to support his manager.
Parrish came out in de Boer’s first press conference saying that the appointment of de Boer was a new start for Palace and they were searching for a new DNA.
Now, I’m simply an opinionated football writer, but even I know that it takes more than 4 games to implement a new DNA into a football club! Parrish had to know this before the start of the season and you would think that he would have a bit more common sense!
Also, Parrish has been saying since the start of the season that football is a result based business, putting pressure on de Boer to do something quickly.
Parrish should have just kept saying that this new DNA obviously takes time to implement and the results will come.
Against Liverpool, Palace played very well and were unlucky to concede a late goal. Unfortunately, Parrish has bitten the bullet too quickly and has made himself and the club look like a tin-pot team.
A victim of modern football
Finally, de Boer is just a victim of modern football.
Clubs nowadays are too trigger happy to get rid of managers left, right and centre.
De Boer himself experienced this last season at Inter Milan, where he was sacked after 84 days. Yet, it later emerged that his sacking was not his fault, and it was the fact that Inter just wanted a change of style immediately.
And the circumstances seem to be very familiar to what’s happened to de Boer at Palace.
I don’t think that this situation is de Boer’s fault, it’s the fact that modern football has made owners more powerful, players more powerful and managers are weaker than ever.
This will obviously reflect badly on de Boer, yet it’s not his fault, and I hope he will be back in management soon.
As for Palace, it looks like they are returning to boring crossing football with the imminent appointment of Roy Hodgson. Though Roy will probably keep them up, this baffling move will reflect badly on Palace, and when they inevitably sack Hodgson, the amount of managers that will want to take over at Selhurst Park will diminish.
Written by Sion Misra
Follow Sion on Twitter @sionmisra
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