Porous Palace putting De Boer under pressure
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