London (AFP) – Crystal Palace on Monday sacked manager Frank de Boer after a dismal start to the Premier League season that has seen them lose all four of their matches without scoring a single goal.
The south London club, languishing in 19th place in the league, have been strongly linked with a move to appoint former England boss Roy Hodgson to replace the departing Dutchman.
“Crystal Palace Football Club have this morning parted company with Frank de Boer,” said a brief statement on the club’s website.
“We would like to thank Frank for his dedication and hard work during his time at the club.
“A new manager will be appointed in due course and we wish Frank the very best of luck for the future.”
De Boer, 47, whose four games in charge are the fewest ever for a Premier League manager, said in a brief post on his Instagram account that he regretted the decision.
“Very disappointed about the decision but never the less I want to thank the players, staff and the fans for their support. Good luck for the future,” he said.
Palace chairman Steve Parish on Sunday took to Twitter to rally fans around the team, without giving unequivocal backing to the former Ajax and Inter Milan boss.
In an exchange with supporters on social media following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley, Parish wrote: “People are frustrated, I’m frustrated, so are the management and players. We know we are better than this…”
Parish also wrote: “We are 4 games in, it’s a terrible start but we have to stick together.”
Palace have so far conceded seven goals in defeats to Huddersfield Town, Liverpool, Swansea City and Burnley.
Their only win this season came against Ipswich Town in the second round of the League Cup last month.
De Boer said after the Burnley defeat at Turf Moor on Sunday: “I am just focusing on what I can control and so are my staff and my players. (The future) is for other people to decide but while I’m the manager of Crystal Palace I will give 100 percent.”
The Eagles are the first team to lose their first four top-flight matches without scoring a goal since Preston North End in the 1924-25 season.
De Boer had been at Selhurst Park for only 77 days after succeeding Sam Allardyce, and while that remains longer than the shortest term for any Premier League manager — Les Reed’s 40 days at Charlton — he oversaw two fewer games.
The sacking caps a miserable spell for the Dutchman, who lasted just 85 days as coach of Italian club Inter despite his positive track record with Ajax, where he won four successive Eredivisie titles.
Hodgson, the bookmakers’ favourite to take the hotseat at Palace, has not worked in management since resigning as England manager after their last-16 elimination by Iceland at Euro 2016.
Hodgson’s appointment appeared all but certain when later on Monday Allardyce ruled himself out of a return.
“I spoke to Steve late this afternoon and said, for me, I wouldn’t be ready to come back,” Allardyce told Sky Sports.
“I wouldn’t be comfortable at this moment in time taking a position as a football manager.
“I’m enjoying my life too much at this moment, watching everyone else have the weight of pressure, and there’s certainly huge pressure as we’ve seen with Frank going so early,” added the 62-year-old.
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