How Glasner transformed Crystal Palace – and caught the attention of Bayern


It is testament to the remarkable turnaround at Crystal Palace under Oliver Glasner that after just three months in charge, he has attracted the attention of Bayern Munich.

The German giants tried to lure Glasner to the Allianz Arena as The successor of Thomas Tuchel but Palace have no interest in negotiating and he remains in charge at Selhurst Park, a scenario he has accepted.

For Palace, this interest is undoubtedly positive. Managers have been poached from Selhurst Park before, but never by a club even approaching the stature and resources of Bayern. If there had been any concerns about whether this appointment was the right one, this has well and truly put them to rest.

Although Palace’s end to the season isn’t the most interesting talking point in the Premier League, given their mid-table position, their improvement under the 49-year-old is still eye-catching.

There is no doubt that after five wins in their last six games, all against teams above them in the Premier League table – including a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United – the impact of Glasner at Palace has been transformational. Not only because he kept them away from security and looking up the table rather than over their shoulders, but because he had a material impact on the performance of players who otherwise had mixed seasons, like Will Hughes, Nathaniel Clyne and Tyrick. Mitchell.

Jean-Philippe Mateta’s improvement had begun under Roy Hodgson, but his performances since Glasner’s appointment have reached a new level. He is now worth several times the £9 million Palace paid for him in January 2022, one of several players whose value in the transfer market has increased under the Austrian. Given the need for financial sustainability, this is important.

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Jean-Philippe Mateta has been in superb form under Oliver Glasner (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

But there are also reasons to be cautious. Glasner is an ambitious manager who is not afraid to impose demands on his superiors at his clubs. At Eintracht Frankfurt, tensions between him and the club’s hierarchy over transfers played a major role in his departure.

Although there is nothing to suggest he is unhappy at Palace, much like his best players, the attention from elsewhere will inevitably be flattering, particularly given his Europa League winning pedigree. Palace will need to demonstrate that they can match their ambition with their transfer activity, starting this summer.

Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Marc Guehi all have confirmed suitors, but they are not the only ones. Joachim Andersen is also in high demand while Adam Wharton, who only joined Blackburn Rovers in January, is already finding himself in the transfer gossip columns after a bumper few months.

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Much remains uncertain about Palace’s summer, but keeping his star players would go some way to convincing Glasner that significant progress can be made next season. Likewise, the work they do to bring in new players to complement and strengthen the squad, regardless of who leaves, will offer an indication of the direction the club is considering.

For Glasner, ambition is a two-way transaction. “If, say, a player is too good for Crystal Palace, the possibility of him changing clubs is high and the same goes if the quality of Crystal Palace is too high for a player,” he said . “The higher the standard of Crystal Palace, the higher the standard of player we can keep in our squad.

“This is how we can show the players where we want to go and that Crystal Palace is the right place for them to develop, have fun playing football and succeed, because it’s no secret that we don’t have that money to compete with the best teams in England.

Glasner has brought about a cultural change within the club. He is hungry to learn and continue his personal development, both in his career and outside of football, and this has carried over to his team. The major changes were to be more demanding of the players, to transmit to them the idea of ​​”intrinsic motivation” and to encourage them to improve for themselves as well as for the team.

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Eberechi Eze is one of the jewels in Oliver Glasner’s crown (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

In his program notes ahead of his first match in charge – a 3-0 win over Burnley – he referred to the importance of “attitude, confidence and humility”. This has been a recurring theme over the past three months in which he has worked harder than before, including double sessions during hot weather training in Marbella to take advantage of the three-week April break .

Glasner’s attention to detail and the way he demonstrates rather than just telling his players what to do has become the key to getting their buy-in. Although he worked to establish familiarity on and off the pitch – another goal of Marbella’s training camp – he was not afraid to set strict boundaries.

If the players don’t do what is expected of them, then he will express his displeasure. His approach is halfway between the light, distant touch applied by Hodgson and the relentless, almost impossibly impeccable standards demanded by Patrick Vieira.

He is considered firm but fair. The players respect the fact that what he told them was confirmed in reality, that he improved them and achieved good results. Glasner shows his players their strengths and the effectiveness of his system. It’s not so much about formation as it is about playing principles, although his 3-4-2-1 configuration is unmistakable.

Player weaknesses are covered by the system. Daniel Munoz, slotted in at right-back since arriving from Genk in January, is able to maraud down the flank thanks to the added defender cover, while Mateta has 10 goals in 12 games since Glasner’s arrival. He benefited from being closer to the box, with Palace playing and winning the ball higher up the pitch and the pressure to come deep to win it back without support being taken away.

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Intensive fitness work was carried out and the weight loss of one team member, in particular, was cited as proof that Glasner’s methods had paid off. This is part of the fact that the manager has pushed them close to their limits to implement his style of play. But he realizes and appreciates their efforts and that he needs their buy-in. A nine-day break between their 1-1 draw with Fulham and a 4-0 win over Manchester United saw the players given four days off as a reward for their efforts. He will work hard for his players and expects the same in response.

Everything is solution focused. Rather than worrying about what could go wrong in a negative sense, he adapts to find answers to any potential problems. It was the idea of ​​“NIPSILD” – a German acronym which means “thinking not about problems but about solutions” – invented by his former coach at SV Ried, Rudi Zauner, that had an impact on him.

The demands and changes caused several players to initially fear for their place, as they felt more comfortable under previous management, but the anxiety subsided over the last six games.

“I’m a positive guy,” Glasner said. “You can always see the glass half empty or half full. You may still be afraid of falling if you go down the stairs. But (if you worry) you will fall. The president didn’t tell me to win the Premier League, so we don’t have to compete with the richest clubs, (but) I’m sure we can beat them. It is important for us to develop the belief that we are capable of competing with any team.

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Oliver Glasner was a hit with his team (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

“It’s about remaining ambitious. We feel how good it is and everyone knows how good it feels to win. Since the Liverpool match we have been flying on a cloud and it’s so nice because the weather is nice and it’s not raining like under the cloud. We want to keep this feeling until the end of the season.

He recounted how he told his players: “You can buy a car or an apartment, but you can never buy emotions.” You have to feel it. » This too became evident in their performances and was reflected in their personalities over time.

There is a sense of unity, while Glasner is keen to deflect any suggestion that individual players such as Eze and Olise are more important than the team. He prefers not to focus on isolated individuals during press briefings; he focuses on how the team works together, rather than relying on his most talented players.

At his inaugural press conference, Glasner said he was “not a magician, I’m not David Copperfield.” It’s something he’s referenced many times since.

But he cast a spell on this team. He transformed the atmosphere and delighted everyone – players and supporters – with an attacking style of play that yielded 24 goals in 12 matches. The feeling now is one of optimism for next season, rather than fear of what could happen.

He brought Palace within touching distance of arch rivals Brighton & Hove Albion under their manager Roberto De Zerbi, one of the most sought-after managers in the league, against whom they were humiliated 4-1 at the Amex Stadium in February.

Palace must now avoid making the mistakes of the Vieira era and last summer, and ensure they are properly supported in the transfer market. There’s no need for major patchwork on this team, but their lack of depth has taken its toll at times this season.

Hodgson was happy to get by without this market support. However, it is unlikely that Glasner will be so patient.

(Top photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)


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