Palace boss De Boer proud to be part of Premier League

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

New Crys­tal Palace man­ager Frank de Boer be­lieves his dis­ap­point­ing spell as In­ter Mi­lan coach has pre­pared him ide­ally for the ul­tra com­pet­i­tive Premier League. The 47-year-old Dutch foot­balling great-who was capped 112 times and won the 1995 Cham­pi­ons League with the out­stand­ing Ajax side un­der Louis van Gaal — told ‘The Times’ he is proud to be cross­ing swords with the likes of Jose Mour­inho and Pep Guardi­ola, both of whom he knew when he played for Barcelona.

“With the coaches here, you want to be here, and that’s why I’m very proud,” said de Boer, who was at the Cata­lan giants from 1999-2003. “A friend of mine con­grat­u­lated me, say­ing, ‘You can be very proud, you’re one of the 20 man­agers of the Premier League, the best league in the world, the most watched of the world.’”

De Boer-who along with twin brother Ron­ald were main­stays of a sub­limely-tal­ented Dutch na­tional side in the 1990’s and early 2000’s-says he is look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Palace chair­man Steve Parish and his team as un­like the Chi­nese own­ers of In­ter they know their foot­ball.

“They have a lot of pun­ish­ment and re­ward in China. That’s the cul­ture,” said de Boer. “The own­ers wanted the play­ers (locked) in the train­ing ground for one week be­cause they lost a game. They did-and lost the next game.” How­ever, de Boer-who suf­fered the heart­break of los­ing on penal­ties in both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 semi-fi­nals-says the In­ter ex­pe­ri­ence made him bet­ter at his job.

‘INVENTIVE, EXPLORERS’

“When you come to train­ing grounds, you see words, mes­sag­ing that ‘If You Didn’t Fail, You Didn’t Learn Any­thing’,” said de Boer, who with Ajax be­came the first coach in Dutch club his­tory to guide a side to four suc­ces­sive league ti­tles (2011-14). “First you have to fail to be bet­ter. I did. It was a good ex­pe­ri­ence. I came out as a bet­ter man­ager.” De Boer, who like Ron­ald ended his play­ing ca­reer in Qatar, has been cho­sen to fill the vac­uum left by Sam Al­lardyce, who stepped down af­ter last sea­son hav­ing ac­com­plished his task of pre­serv­ing Palace’s Premier League sta­tus. He has been par­tic­u­larly taken by Ivory Coast in­ter­na­tional wing Wil­fried Zaha but in­sists he is not go­ing to over­haul im­me­di­ately the ‘Ea­gles’ coun­ter­at­tack­ing style with his more cere­bral pass­ing game. “That kind of player (Zaha) is the one you come to visit the sta­dium for,” purred de Boer.

“He can make the dif­fer­ence. With the Robbens, Mes­sis and Ron­al­dos, you have to get those play­ers in their best po­si­tion so they can show their qual­i­ties. “We want to try that with Zaha be­cause he can be de­ci­sive. He’s shown that al­ready; he’s still young (24), can still im­prove. “We’re not go­ing to go sud­denly to­tally the op­po­site (to counter-at­tack­ing) that’s sui­cide. “We do it step by step. To play pos­ses­sion be­cause it’s fun to have the ball has no pur­pose.” De Boer says be­ing Dutch there will be no prob­lem to slip­ping into the new way of life and foot­ball style that is the Premier League. “We (the Dutch) are inventive, we were explorers. We adapt well,” he said.

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