Given the mounting pressure being placed on Frank de Boer in recent days, it would have been incredibly easy for his players to have thrown the towel in as soon as Lee Chung-Yong’s desperately misguided back-pass fell at the feet of Chris Wood yesterday but to their credit, they continued fighting until the very last kick of the game.
Despite constant speculation over whether or not the club have made a bad decision in handing the reins to the former Ajax man, yesterday’s display gave the impression of a team who are still fighting tooth and nail for their manager, regardless of the endless chatter over his job security.
Having arrived in south London intent on playing 3-4-3, Frank should be applauded for changing us back to a more comfortable 4-3-3 formation against the Clarets yesterday, proving that, although he remains highly principled, he’s not the sort of man who will cut his nose off to spite his face in every conceivable scenario.
Without the services of Zaha, Sakho or Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the boys put in a performance worthy of two, three or possibly even four goals on the day, only to come away with yet another blank for all their efforts. Obviously, our current predicament is far from ideal but from my own personal perspective; sacking a manager after a display like that would simply make no sense.
Speaking after the game, De Boer himself was defiant; no doubt as a consequence of watching his players perform admirably in extremely testing conditions. Of course, each loss adds to the uncertainty surrounding his role in SE25 but with a home game against Southampton next up, it feels right to stick by him for at least one more game.
Sadly, the threat of relegation is already looming large, meaning that a negative result against the Saints would almost certainly signal the end of his time with us but yesterday, we saw genuine reasons for optimism and that should buoy both De Boer and his players throughout their training sessions in the build-up to that crunch clash.
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