Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chris Wood’s dream debut for Burnley pushed Frank De Boer to the brink of the sack as Crystal Palace crashed to a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor on Sunday.
New Zealand international Wood marked his maiden appearance for Burnley following his club record £15 million ($19 million, 16 million euros) move by firing the winner early in the first half.
The former Leeds striker punished a woeful backpass by Palace’s South Korean winger Lee Chung-Yong.
For Palace manager De Boer, his side’s fourth successive defeat could bring an abrupt end to his first season at Selhurst Park.
Palace have yet to score a league goal since Ajax and Inter Milan coach De Boer took charge and reports ahead of this fixture claimed Eagles chairman Steve Parish was already considering sacking the Dutchman.
With Parish watching from the stands, De Boer saw second bottom Palace waste a string of chances to at least snatch a point and he will head back to south London with his future in doubt.
“I cannot believe we lost. There is frustration about the result but not about our performance,” De Boer said.
“We have given a lot of sloppy goals away already and that was even worse.
“But I saw the team fighting for each other and playing with more confidence.
“The only thing I can control is to work very hard with the boys. That is what I am going to do and hopefully for a long time.”
Desperate to spark Palace into life, De Boer had made three changes and reluctantly switched to a 4-4-2 formation in a bid to kick-start his season.
But it took just three minutes for his plans to go horribly wrong.
Lee, making his 100th Premier League appearance, turned and played the ball back in the direction of the non-existent Palace defence.
Wood reacted superbly, intercepting the pass and slotting past Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey first time from the edge of the area.
Palace were almost level within a minute when Scott Dann took aim from the right side of the box and his deflected shot was booted off the line by Matthew Lowton.
Two minutes later Palace came close again when Andros Townsend lofted a pass to Christian Benteke, who steered his header inches wide of the far post with keeper Tom Heaton beaten.
Burnley suffered a setback just past the half-hour mark when Heaton was forced off with a shoulder injury after landing awkwardly, giving a Premier League debut for 25-year-old Nick Pope.
Jeffrey Schlupp blazed over as Palace applied late pressure.
But Benteke was denied by Pope in the 78th minute, then Dann headed wide from no more than four yards out to ensure another dismal afternoon for De Boer.
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