LONDON (Reuters) - New Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer has said his players are “starting to believe” in the possession-based style of football that was his hallmark at Ajax.
De Boer faces his first game in charge at home to newly promoted Huddersfield Town on Saturday, with the Dutchman promising a switch away from the counter-attacking style of his predecessor Sam Allardyce.
“Every ball you play, you play with an idea. I never played a ball without an idea,” the 47-year-old told the Evening Standard on Friday.
“Do I play it hard because it is between the lines? Do I play it on his right foot because then I know he has to turn that way? Every pass has a message. That is the person I was as a player and also what I demand from my players.”
Palace will play a 3-4-3 system although he expects his players to be tactically flexible.
“The players are starting to believe,” said the former Ajax and Barcelona defender. “Results help that progress, but this system is very suitable to the players here.”
De Boer’s appointment was hailed as a big step for the club who only just escaped relegation after bringing in Allardyce halfway through the season.
As Ajax manager, De Boer won four titles in six years before a disastrous spell at Inter Milan last season ended with the sack after just 85 days.
“You have to focus on the short term, and in the beginning we wanted to change quite a lot,” he said of his time in Italy.
“If we had focused more on some things and put aside other things for the long term – and bring them out when things are under control. That is the biggest lesson.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson Editing by Jeremy Gaunt