Palace sacks de Boer after nightmare start

Reuters
Crystal Palace fired manager Frank de Boer on Monday after the team opened the Premier League season with four straight losses.
Reuters
Reuters

Crystal Palace manager Frank De Boer before the English Premier League match against Burnley at Turf Moor in Burnley, northwest England, on September 10, 2017. The 0-1 loss was Palace's fourth straight to start the season and led to De Boer's sacking on September 11, 2017.

Crystal Palace sacked new manager Frank de Boer four games into the English Premier League season on Monday after suffering the worst start to an English top-flight campaign for nearly 100 years.

The 47-year-old former Ajax Amsterdam player and manager only took charge on June 26 with a three-year contract, but his first four EPL games all ended in defeat.

The club confirmed de Boer's departure in a brief statement on the club's website.

"Crystal Palace Football Club have this morning parted company with Frank de Boer," it said.

"We would like to thank Frank for his dedication and hard work during his time at the Club. A new manager will be appointed in due course and we wish Frank the very best of luck for the future."

De Boer's reign is the shortest in the Premier League era in terms of matches played.

Les Reed lasted seven games in 2006 before being sacked by Charlton Athletic while American Bob Bradley survived only 11 last season at Swansea City. Frenchman Jacques Santini was also sacked by Tottenham Hotspur after 11 games in 2004.

It is the second time the Dutchman has lasted fewer than 100 days in a job having suffered a similar fate at Inter Milan last year where he was sacked after 85 days in charge.

Sunday's 0-1 defeat at Burnley, where Palace wasted several good chances to break its duck, left it joint bottom of the table having failed to register a goal.

The last English top-flight club to lose its first four games without finding the net was Preston North End in 1924.

Home defeats

De Boer, who replaced Sam Allardyce, presided over home defeats by newly-promoted Huddersfield Town (0-3) and Swansea City (0-2) and away losses to Liverpool (0-1) and Burnley.

His only victory came in the League Cup against second-tier Ipswich Town.

Media reports said former England manager Roy Hodgson, who is 70, was in line to replace De Boer at Selhurst Park.

Whoever does replace De Boer faces a tough task as Palace plays Manchester City and Manchester United away and Chelsea at home in its next four EPL matches.

De Boer, a former Netherlands center back, tried to implement a more expansive style of play but his players have struggled to adapt, The Associated Press reported.

He arrived on a three-year deal and with ambitions of making the team entertaining to watch and integrating more youth-team players. The Dutchman said his primary objective was to turn a team that regularly battles relegation into a stable EPL force.

Palace lost 0-3 at home to promoted team Huddersfield on the opening weekend of the season, with De Boer losing winger Wilfried Zaha — arguably his best player — to injury.

Palace's players have looked uncomfortable in converting to De Boer's possession-based approach, which is a giant leap from the pragmatism, directness and counter-attacking favored by Allardyce. However, Palace did dominate in the loss at Burnley, missing many clear-cut chances after conceding a third-minute goal from a defensive error.

Hodgson hasn't coached since leaving the England job after the country's elimination by Iceland at last year's European Championship. His last job as a club manager was at West Bromwich Albion from 2011-12.


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