Crystal Palace V Huddersfield at Selhurst Park : Match Preview

11 August 2017 06:34
Frank de Boer keen to remain pragmatic at Palace

Frank de Boer has denied his plans for Crystal Palace to adopt the popular 3-4-3 formation means they are about to embark on a season of "adventurous and exciting" football.

The expectation since his appointment as manager is that he would attempt to implement the style with which his former club Ajax excelled in the process of winning four Eredivisie titles.

There was also therefore the risk that he would be repeating a mistake made by one of his predecessors, Alan Pardew, 12 months ago, whose pursuit of what he called "street football" led to a relegation battle and eventually the sack.

Much of Chelsea's success under Antonio Conte has owed to the 3-4-3 shape that so many have since tried to emulate, and the prospect of Palace's front three consisting of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke would excite.

However De Boer, having swiftly lost his job as Inter Milan manager following a disappointing start to the past season, insists his team will be taking few risks.

They host Huddersfield in their opening fixture of the Premier League season, and the Dutchman said: "Everybody says that 3-4-3 can be very adventurous or exciting but you can also say you're playing with five defenders.

"It's how you look at it. If you have the ball it's very offensive; if you don't you're dropping back and it's very defensive. Louis van Gaal at the World Cup (with Holland), he played 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 but they mostly let the opponent get the ball and played in transition with Arjen Robben; Juventus were very offensive.

"It depends how you try to dominate the game; we will try to dominate but we have to be realistic where we came from. We want to be a solid club and there are many good teams in the Premier League so a lot of times we will be pulled back and have the security of five at the back."

De Boer, who in 2012 rejected the chance to manage Liverpool, enters English football after the disappointment of Inter, but insists he does not have to prove himself again.

"(I'm not here) to prove people wrong," said the 47-year-old, who remains without the unfit Yohan Cabaye, James McArthur, Bakary Sako and Pape Souare. "I knew with Inter that it was quite a hard job but when a chance comes with a major club in the world I'm going to try, even though I knew it would be very difficult.

"They didn't give me enough time so I have to respect that but I'm still confident in my quality."

Meanwhile, David Wagner insists Huddersfield will begin their first ever Premier League campaign with no fear, having already proven "the impossible is possible" in reaching the top flight.

The Terriers are back in the uppermost division for the first time in 45 years after winning promotion via the Championship play-offs despite finishing the previous four campaigns in the bottom half of the second tier.

Now they sit alongside English football's elite - a fact few believed possible throughout last season's campaign - and they are the pre-season favourites with bookmakers to drop straight back down to the Championship.

However, Wagner believes last year's achievement is evidence that his team can defy the odds.

"We said this last season very often, over a long, long time, it's unrealistic for Huddersfield Town to be in the Premier League," the German said.

"And then we said, 'This is not possible'. In football everything is possible. I think we've shown that even the impossible is possible in football.

"Now we have another task in front of us. A difficult task, of course. We are aware but it doesn't change that we are ambitious.

"We are in this league because we are ambitious, even if we know the task is a difficult one."

That challenge begins away at Palace when Wagner and the majority of this squad will be stepping into the unknown.

Aside from former Stoke midfielder Dean Whitehead, only Tom Ince, Martin Cranie and Jonathan Hogg have ever played at this level before, and their experience amounts to only a handful of appearances.

"For me personally, I was more nervous when I arrived in England rather than now starting in the Premier League," said Wagner, whose first game ended in a 3-1 loss.

"From the players' point of view, yes. It's more that I am interested in how they will react.

"We are totally inexperienced. Does it mean something in terms of the performance on Saturday? No. Did we have experience of the play-offs? No. But we did well. Did we have experience in terms of playing at the top of the (Championship) table? No. But we did it will.

"I am very happy to see on Saturday how they will react. With excitement, you usually are able to over-perform and hopefully we can see this on Saturday."

Nahki Wells (ankle), Martin Cranie (hip) and Hogg (ankle) will all miss out at Selhurst Park.

Source: PAR


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