Sunday’s Premier League clash between Burnley and Crystal Palace isn’t exactly a blockbuster showdown, but already the stakes could not be higher for Eagles boss Frank de Boer.
It seems daft speculating this so early on in his tenure, but if reports are to be believed, the Dutchman will be axed from the job if his side fail to win at Turf Moor. Palace are without a point or a goal in the three opening matches and cannot afford to let the crisis continue before trickier games to follow.
Many people would say Palace are lucky with the opening fixtures they’ve had, but that could not be any further from the truth. If the South London side had lost their three opening games to bigger sides, nobody would really blame the manager and the struggle would be understandable. However, to lose in the manner Palace did in the home defeats to Huddersfield and Swansea, the pressure is deservedly on. With all respect to the two clubs and Sunday’s opponents Burnley, these are games Palace need and should be winning. If de Boer comes up short once again to a potential relegation rival, then how many more crucial six-pointers can his side afford to lose?
It’s extremely harsh and unforgiving on the manager, but that is the reality of Premier League football. The impatience of the results-based business coupled with the ever-growing importance of remaining in the league, makes it a highly-pressured situation for all. Your side could be riding high one week, but the next you could lose your job if results don’t continue.
De Boer is determined to change the style of play and seems unwilling to allow others to change his mind. The loss of support from the board and struggle to integrate his philosophy upon the playing squad seems largely to do with his stubborn and loyal approach to authorising his blueprint on Palace. The 3-4-3 system clearly does not work without time, patience and certain personnel. These factors are unfortunate for de Boer, but in the mean time he must compromise and reintroduce the original 4-3-3 system from last season’s successful escape. If he gradually introduces his philosophy, then he will more than likely to retain his job. For now, it’s absolutely vital for his future that Palace get something positive from Turf Moor.