Por­ous Palace putting De Boer un­der pres­sure

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - THE TITLE - By Adam Crafton

IN THE melt­ing pot of pres­sure that is life as man­ager of In­ter Mi­lan, Frank de Boer lasted only 85 days at the start of last sea­son.

Even with In­ter Mi­lan 12th in Serie A by early Novem­ber, it was a bru­tal culling for a man with ad­mir­ers all over the globe.

Yet we are now 61 days into De Boer’s new ex­is­tence as man­ager of Crys­tal Palace and, af­ter three de­feats and no goals, some in south Lon­don may al­ready be a lit­tle twitchy.

Af­ter a cred­itable dis­play in the de­feat by Liver­pool at An­field last week, this was a re­turn to the wor­ry­ing form that re­sulted in Palace los­ing 3-0 at home to Hud­der­s­field Town on the open­ing day of the sea­son.

De Boer’s new team were greeted by boos on the half­time and full-time whis­tles of only his sec­ond home game. He ad­mit­ted the in­ter­na­tional break comes at a good time.

‘We need some goals and points,’ De Boer said. ‘In the first-half, we didn’t show any courage on the ball. There was no mo­ment we were com­fort­able. It wasn’t be­cause Swansea did a fan­tas­tic job.’

Palace were por­ous at the back and put to the sword by a Swansea team de­prived of the in­jured Fer­nando Llorente who had been any­thing but ruth­less so far this sea­son.

De Boer has taken over a Sam Al­lardyce team used to a far higher tempo and his play­ers are not re­spond­ing to his am­bi­tions for a pass­ing game; they had only 39 per cent of the ball in the first half.

Palace’s toil was best summed up by a dread­ful 30-yard ef­fort by cen­tre­back James Tomkins which sailed far over the cross­bar just be­fore half-time. In do­ing so, Tomkins in­jured him­self and was re­placed by Martin Kelly.

Within two min­utes of Kelly’s in­tro­duc­tion, Leroy Fer col­lected pos­ses­sion mid­way in­side Palace ter­ri­tory. Kelly be­gan a grap­pling match with on­loan Chelsea for­ward Tammy Abraham. The Swansea striker broke free and took the cross first time on the half-vol­ley to hand the away side the lead.

Worse was to fol­low af­ter the restart. Kelly, now at left-back in a four-man de­fence, had his pocket picked when he tried to by­pass Kyle Naughton. Naughton slid the ball through and Jor­dan Ayew beat Wayne Hen­nessey to the ball. The ball re­bounded off Ayew into the goal.

In the stands, the cam­eras panned to an ex­as­per­ated Wil­fried Zaha, who is in­jured, and then to Palace chair­man Steve Par­ish, who peered anx­iously at his mo­bile phone. He will know re­in­force­ments are badly needed be­fore the trans­fer win­dow closes on Thurs­day.

SURE TOUCH: Abraham vol­ley gives Swansea their lead

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