It is no shock that Frank de Boer has been sacked by Crystal Palace after all the speculation over his future – but it stinks the way the things have unfolded.
Yes, Palace lost, and are still without a point and a goal in the Premier League this season, but to sack him after the way they played showed he had no chance of keeping his job anyway.
It all seems very underhand. If Roy Hodgson is unveiled as the new Palace manager in the next day or two, then are you telling me he wasn’t spoken to before the Burnley game?
It has been all over the papers that Roy had been approached, so why put De Boer through a situation where he could supposedly save his job when that was never going to happen? I just don’t understand that.
We’re all going to stick together… and you are sacked, Frank’
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish was at Turf Moor and, like everyone else, he will have seen the performance De Boer’s players put in for him and will know it was a game they should have won.
There are lots of different ways to lose a match, and that was not the kind of display you see from a team where the manager has lost the dressing room and his side are not playing for him. Quite the opposite, in fact.
So, De Boer has effectively been sacked after three games, not four, because the decision must have been made earlier.
Why didn’t Parish do what he thought was the right thing after Palace lost at home to Swansea on 26 August? Surely sacking De Boer would have made more sense to him then, if that was what he was thinking.
Parish does not really come out of this whole situation well at all, especially when you consider some of the tweets he sent on Sunday night about the need to stick together.
It sounded like he was backing his manager but what he was actually saying there was “we are all going to stick together… and by the way you are sacked, Frank”.
I feel sorry for De Boer but maybe he is better off out of there if that is the type of person he is working for.
‘Deeply unfair to say De Boer cannot be pragmatic’
MOTD2 presenter Mark Chapman asked me about Hodgson on Sunday night and whether he was a more pragmatic manager than De Boer.
The reason I was slightly confused was because Mark had just reeled out a stat saying how, under De Boer, Palace have played more long passes – 308 – than anyone else in the Premier League this season.
So I think to say that De Boer could not be pragmatic is deeply unfair on him.
We had seen him adapt at Turf Moor by starting a game with four at the back for the first time this season, and that game also showed it was nonsense to suggest his playing style did not suit the players he had at Palace.
Against Burnley his side constantly tried to find Christian Benteke – and, when he was pushed forward, Scott Dann too – with balls forward or crosses into the box.
Burnley defended them very well but Palace still had balls cleared off the line and some big chances where they inexplicably missed the target.
They dominated against a team that had a fantastic home record last season and I don’t know how they failed to score. That is not De Boer’s fault.
Does it matter how you play as long as you get results?
The bottom line is that De Boer has been sacked after four Premier League games and, in two of them, the team actually played well.
I thought Palace were well organised in their previous away game, against Liverpool, and should have got something out of that game.
What I saw against Burnley was another improvement, where they looked a real attacking threat.
Overall, it was a performance that gave De Boer something to build on – or at least it should have done.
Instead, it appears Hodgson will get the chance to take this team forward, but to call him a pragmatic manager is actually unfair too.
There is no way I would call Hodgson a long-ball merchant, but the message to him – or whoever the next Palace manager turns out to be – now appears to be that it doesn’t matter how you try to play, as long as you get results.
|Palace’s next four Premier League games|
|Saturday, 16 September||Southampton (h)|
|Saturday, 23 September||Man City (a)|
|Saturday, 30 September||Man Utd (a)|
|Saturday, 14 October||Chelsea (h)|
Maybe Parish should come under scrutiny too
Palace successfully stayed up playing a certain way under Sam Allardyce last season so, if you were thinking logically about it, when they made their next appointment you would expect them to follow the same sort of template.
Parish wanted something different from Allardyce’s approach, however.
When he got the job, De Boer went through an interview process with Parish, who said he wanted a manager who would change their style of play, and also someone who would be a long-term appointment too.
Presumably Parish thought he had found someone who ticked both boxes, so what has changed 77 days on?