Frank de Boer has admitted that he is feeling the benefits of being in Hong Kong already as he begins to learn a lot more about his Palace squad on and off the pitch.
Over the past five days the Dutchman has had a closer look at the players at his disposal, while they in turn have had a better chance to know more about the new boss’ new ideas and philosophies, heading into tomorrow’s game against West Bromwich Albion.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with the Baggies, De Boer said: “I know the players much better; it’s not often that you get to spend pretty much 24 hours with them for seven days so it’s good for the staff, especially the new members.
“Also it’s good for the players to know me a little bit better and also to really implement what we want from the players – not the just the shape but also what I expect from them on the field.”
Having trialled a new 3-4-3 formation in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, De Boer is keen to see how his players continue their confidence in using it in the third/fourth play-off as he tries to add another weapon to Palace’s arsenal, allowing them to adapt for whatever challenges lie his team’s way across the campaign.
“I am very fond of 4-3-3 which I have played in all my life, but on the other side you have to look at you squad and I think that right now 3-4-3 is the best system,” he added. “It takes time to implement this system while everyone knows how to play 4-3-3, so we have to train hard and every player has to know his role. We can always switch to 4-3-3 but over the coming weeks we have to train really well.”
De Boer refused to be drawn on individual transfer targets, but he did suggest that he wanted to bring in a few new faces as quickly as possible with the season opener against Huddersfield Town just over three weeks away.
“Our first game is only on the 12th August and managers always want their squad settled as quickly as possible,” said the Eagles manager. “There is always a financial aspect to it so we have to accept how difficult it can be sometimes.
“We still need a quality injection because the Premier League is a tough league and if you want to be a very solid club, you can’t just rely on 13 or 14 first-team players, you need more like 16 or 17. If we want to be a solid club we need to get some extra players.”