Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman believes his team need to find greater attacking potency to truly become a force on the world stage again.
Portugal won the inaugural Nations League title by beating Koeman’s men 1-0 in Porto on Sunday – Goncalo Guedes firing home decisively with an hour played.
Progress to that point required victories over Germany, France and England and represents a considerable resurgence for a nation that failed to qualify for either Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup.
But while elite performances from the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have laid the groundwork for an exciting era, Koeman does have to contend with a lack of depth in attack.
Memphis Depay passed up a glorious headed chance during the second half, one a specialist in the number nine position might have eaten up, and it is clear to their boss where Netherlands’ weakness lies.
“We want to go on and push forward. We were not good enough, perhaps that is the case for tonight,” Koeman told a post-match news conference.
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“But that is putting it negatively knowing the whole campaign we’ve had. We knew we had to be at our best and we were not.
“We know we made big steps in one year in the campaign of the Nations League. Against Germany, France, England, Portugal – maybe four of the strongest five or six teams in Europe.
“To make the next step maybe we need more time, more offensive strength is really important. To create more chances, to have what we missed tonight.
“Portugal, as we expected, were very solid as a team. They are used to playing that way. They have had more time together than us.
“They are handsome in front, maybe we missed some of that creativity in our attacking play.”
Nevertheless, Koeman was keen to underline praise for his players and the tournament he feels helped to galvanise them.
“I think it’s great tournament if you look back through the whole season, if you see how happy Portugal was to win this prize,” he added.
“The intensity in the group was really high and the idea to organise the Nations League was a perfect one. We are looking forward to the next one.”
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