De Boer intends to stay at Palace for the long haul

Newly-appointed Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer posing with the club jersey. The Dutchman will seek to retain the defensive solidity that Sam Allardyce drilled into the squad while transitioning towards a more possession- based playing style.
Newly-appointed Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer posing with the club jersey. The Dutchman will seek to retain the defensive solidity that Sam Allardyce drilled into the squad while transitioning towards a more possession- based playing style.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Frank de Boer has insisted that the Crystal Palace job was not simply a stepping stone for a return to a big club.

The man who led Ajax Amsterdam to four Dutch titles in a row and once turned down Liverpool was left with a slightly tainted reputation from his time at Italian Serie A side Inter Milan, where he lasted a mere 85 days as coach before being sacked last November.

He has been tasked with developing a flexible and varied playing style at Palace, while ensuring that the team do not get sucked into a relegation scrap for a fifth season in a row.

Selhurst Park may seem a slight comedown for a man who was given permission to talk to Tottenham Hotspur in 2014 and turned down Liverpool two years earlier. He could even have taken over Everton last summer.

"The thing I'm concerned with is making Crystal Palace a very solid Premier League club," de Boer said on Monday. "I've signed for three years, so I want to stay for three years... I'm focusing on this job and what happens in the future is not important. Yes (I rejected Liverpool) as I just signed a new contract at Ajax. No regrets."

The Dutchman succeeds Sam Allardyce, who resigned at the end of the season.

He wants his side to dominate opponents in the same way as Ajax, the club where he learned his trade.

"(At Ajax), it's also in our DNA to try and play technical football and dominate," said the 47-year-old, who won the Champions League title with the Dutch side in 1995.

"When you do that and do that well it's a plus, it's attractive and it looks nice.

"We are not naive. I want to play dominant. But we want to dominate with and without the ball. You can be dominant by trying to move the opposition where you want them to go."

The former defender is under no illusions about the difficulties of moving towards an adaptable possession-based style while retaining the defensive solidity that helped Allardyce last season.

"There is a lot to lose and there is a lot to gain," he said. "I am excited."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2017, with the headline 'De Boer intends to stay at Palace for the long haul'. Print Edition | Subscribe