LONDON (Reuters) - Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson faces a familiar salvage operation as he bids to turn round the fortunes of a club who tried to introduce a new philosophy and got badly burned.
Frank de Boer’s attempt to bring “Total Football” to Selhust Park lasted 77 days and Palace immediately turned to a highly experienced manager in Hodgson who is no stranger to such situations.
Although Dutchman De Boer presided over four successive losses, Hodgson’s arrival has been greeted by a mixed response from Palace fans, many of whom appreciated the club trying something different in a bid to improve entertainment levels in south London.
However, the more pragmatic on the Selhurst Park terraces will appreciate a manager who keeps things simple.
Before Hodgson’s ill-fated reign as England manager, he won plenty of admirers for turning around the fortunes of West Bromwich Albion in remarkably similar circumstances to which he finds himself in now.
Under Roberto Di Matteo, West Brom were languishing in 17th place in the 2010-11 season and staring relegation in the face before Hodgson, working with what he had having been appointed after the transfer window closed, turned things round.
Two defeats in 12 games pushed West Brom well clear of relegation and they finished 10th the following season, repairing the damage done to Hodgson’s reputation in a disappointing stint at Liverpool.
After his unhappy spell as England manager Hodgson will hope his revival project at Selhurst Park, just a few miles from where he was born, has a similar positive effect.
“If there are problems in the team in terms of organisation and structure, Roy will get down to work at them straight away,” Terry Burton, who worked alongside Hodgson at West Brom, told the Guardian.
“He’s very good at getting players to understand their role within the team.”
What stood out from Palace’s first four games was just how confused their players seemed to be about their roles in the side.
Hodgson, 70, will ask for no such flamboyance. Players will be asked to play to their strengths in a unit that will be, first and foremost, hard to beat.
“What I always look for in every game is character,” Hodgson said. “I am looking for desire and people who share your passion and enthusiasm.”
It sounds very basic stuff but at this time of upheaval, such an approach could be exactly what Palace need.
Editing by Ed Osmond