As Atlanta United’s win streak reached three games, and then five games with a chance to reach six Sunday at New York Red Bulls, the Twitter hashtag #DeBoerOut was replaced by #DeBoerIn.
The subject, of course, was Atlanta United’s new manager Frank de Boer, who was tasked with carrying on the success of previous manager Gerardo Martino, who took the team to the MLS Cup and qualified it for the Champions League.
De Boer said he was aware of the supporters’ dissatisfaction earlier in the season as Atlanta United was eliminated from the Champions League and went winless in its four games in MLS.
But de Boer said he was working as hard as he could and always taking a long view, always accepting the messages of support he would receive from people who saw him walking in Midtown.
“Atlanta is a big club, so you know there’s some pressure,” he said Friday. “They expect of course a lot from the manager and the club. When it’s not going their way, you can have negative response.
“You hope that it will turn around. It did. Now, it’s a whole different approach from the people.”
Captain Michael Parkhurst said the players saw the hashtag when it was used in February and March and even into April during a 2-1 loss to Dallas.
Like de Boer, the players were taking a 30,000-foot view to the club’s plan. They knew de Boer was a new manager who was trying to put in a different formation (at the time) and with different tactics than were used by Martino.
Change can be hard.
“We want our fans to care and want the best for Atlanta United and hold everyone to a high standard,” Parkhurst said. “At the same time, you have to have patience and look at things a little bit more long range than just a few games. We understand that.
“I think that the team had patience in the beginning of the season, and now we’ve bounced back. I’m glad they didn’t fire him after three games.”