Oliver Glasner’s first trick as Crystal Palace manager secures vital three points

Oliver Glasner’s first trick as Crystal Palace manager secures vital three points
Oliver Glasner made a winning start to life at Crystal Palace - PA/Bradley Collyer

Magicians never reveal their tricks, but there was little sleight of hand involved in Oliver Glasner’s first compelling trick as manager of Crystal Palace.

The Austrian’s insistence prior to his first game in charge was that he is not David Copperfield. He belied that statement with his masterstroke of a double substitution midway through the second half. There was nothing hidden in the manoeuvre, but the effects were dazzling.

With Palace dominating yet struggling to break through against a Burnley side that was reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of Josh Brownhill after 35 minutes, Glasner introduced Naouirou Ahamada and Matheus Franca.

Less than two minutes later, Ahamada drove in a shot which Burnley keeper James Trafford could only beat away for a corner. From it, Jordan Ayew eventually curled over a deep cross to the far post which was converted by a stooping Chris Richards header.

Next, it was Franca’s turn to drive across a low cross for Ayew to turn home before Franca then skipped past Vitinho and was felled for a penalty which was tucked away by Jean-Philippe Mateta. After the bleakest of midwinters at Selhurst Park, this was a springtime of hope and rebirth. The challenge for Glasner now is to prove that this was not a transitory illusion.

Glasner said: “I took off Adam Wharton because he had a yellow card and we were afraid that with the next foul he might be sent off, so Adam Wharton was the David Copperfield today.

“I could feel the spirit in the players from the beginning today. Everybody could feel the energy and the power that the players had. For me it was ‘wow’ in the locker room before room the kind of spirit and power the players showed. And it was ‘wow’ again when I entered the stadium before the game. In such an environment you are able to show your best performance.”

Glasner surely realises that it will not always be this easy. His side were already in control of the game before Brownhill’s dismissal after a pass from goalkeeper James Trafford went astray. Brownhill’s attempt to dispossess Jefferson Lerma was clumsy and, crucially, Lerma fell outside the area meaning that while the midfielder avoided giving away a penalty, he could not escape the red card.

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Referee Lewis Smith shows a red card to Josh Brownhill - Getty Images/Alex Davidson

Burnley’s day was summed up in the dying minutes when David Fofana headed home only for a VAR check to reveal that full-back Lorenz Assignon was standing in an offside position and interfering with Sam Johnstone’s ability to make the save.

When the decision to award the goal was reversed, Assignon threw himself on the ground in frustration.

While Palace’s new era under Glasner has begun with a giant step towards Premier League safety, Burnley’s already wafer-thin survival hopes will surely disappear if they cannot recover immediately from this defeat.

Their remaining fixtures prior to the international break against Bournemouth, West Ham and Brentford offer an opportunity that cannot be passed up. While dismayed by the afternoon’s events, manager Vincent Kompany insists his team will not give up.

Kompany said: “It’s difficult to play in a game of this magnitude with ten men. The over-riding disappointment is that we had a such key event in a game when we couldn’t afford it.

“But the belief is not going to change There are 250 million people who play football. There are 500 or something players who play in the Premier League so the odds of you making it are so, so small, way smaller than you staying up. In that mindset you don’t need anybody to believe in you other than yourself.”

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