Frank De Boer saw his new look Crystal Palace side struggle in an unfamiliar 3-4-3 formation as new boys Huddersfield Town capitalised on some shabby Palace defending to win 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
The Dutchman De Boer who is looking to create a revolution at SE25 with some young exciting players and a change in style; but yesterday saw that it will not be a quick fix as a own-goal from the poor Joel Ward and then a brace from Terriers debutant Steve Mounie meant Palace went down to an opening day defeat.
After a poor first-half with defensive mistakes aplenty, the Eagles improved after the break and if they had found an early goal the result might have been different. But Huddersfield and their high pressing style was too much for Palace.
De Boer concedes it was a ‘false start’ for everybody at the club
Speaking after the disappointing loss, the Dutchman said: “It is a very false start for everybody. Nobody expected it and it’s a very hard lessons for everyone – the staff and the players.”
“At the highest level in football, matches will be decided on details and I think we lost the game in 15 minutes,” said De Boer.
On a day that was poor in many aspects, one player did stand out for Palace and that was Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The young midfielder stood out on his Palace debut, but it was costly defensive errors which meant the 21-year-old was on the losing side.
Palace made the wrong choices
On the evidence of yesterday’s performance, it’s going to take a little bit of time before the Eagles look comfortable in the new 3-4-3 formation, and with time still left in the transfer market, it could be a busy end of the window for De Boer and Palace.
Talking about the first-half display, the former Inter Milan manager said: “We started well but after 10 minutes we made the wrong choices and we were pulled back.”
De Boer continued by saying: “We have to understand that the game doesn’t last 75 minutes – it’s maybe 95 or 98. If in those 50 minutes you don’t do what the game asks for you to do, you get punished and were punished hard by Huddersfield.”