Frank de Boer questions “courage” after Crystal Palace defeat

Leave a comment

Frank De Boer has lost all of his first three Premier League games in charge of Crystal Palace and the Eagles have yet to score a goal.

Palace lost 2-0 at home to Swansea City on Saturday in a game which already felt like a relegation six-pointer.

Tammy Abraham and Jordan Ayew scored either side of half time to suck the life out of de Boer’s team and Palace never fully recovered from a slow start to the game.

Speaking after the game the Dutchman, who saw his side booed off at half time, revealed his thoughts on yet another lackluster display.

“We were uncomfortable with how we played,” de Boer said. “Swansea didn’t play that well the first half but I said before the game because they play the same system as us, we have one spare man left in the back and they had one spare man left in the back, it will become a lot of duels and the team which maybe shows the most courage but also makes the less mistakes will win the game. In the end it was like that.”

De Boer did salute his side for the “spirit” and “guts” they showed in the second half and revealed he is desperate to give Palace’s vocal fans something to cheer.

“I saw a totally different Crystal Palace in the second half and then you are already behind. You want to get in front. The crowd is fantastic and they always stay behind you. You want to give them something back,” de Boer added.

Palace have lost 3-0 at home to Huddersfield, 1-0 at Liverpool and now 2-0 against Swansea City heading into the first international break of the campaign and everything points to the obvious question: can de Boer really turn this group of players into a flowing, possession-based side?

It was a brave hire by Palace to bring in de Boer in the first place.

He wants wants to play an attractive style in a 3-4-3 formation but is trying to do that with a team of players put together by Sam Allardyce and his notorious direct approach. It is like asking Leicester City’s players to possess the ball and not hit teams on the break.

Palace are not playing to their strengths.

Time and time again Palace’s defenders were caught on the ball and they looked uneasy at trying to possess the ball as de Boer wants them to. Substitute Martin Kelly made mistakes for both goals and Palace just couldn’t get any quality service to Christian Benteke up top.

It will be a very long international break for de Boer and Crystal Palace with the bookies already making him the favorite to be the first PL manager to lose his job this season.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

Martin Rickett/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz, File
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.

How to stop Alexis? “Padlock, tie him up,” says Sevilla boss

Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

“Well, maybe we can lock him up with a padlock or tie him up with rope.”

Vincenzo Montella has mixed it up with Alexis Sanchez in the past, and he’s not relishing the need to stop him again without using non-traditional means.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The Sevilla boss, 43, said he “remembered well” the Manchester United star from the Chilean’s playing time at Udinese,.

“He has improved his style a lot during his career and I think he can be a really good player in transition,” Montella said. “I think they have really good speed in attack.”

That padlock joke wasn’t the only quality quip from Montella, who said of Paul Pogba:

“He is a complete player. I hope he doesn’t play.”

Sevilla hosts United at 2:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.