Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Koeman plans Netherlands tactical changes after Van Gaal criticisms

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Jan 2023

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Ronald Koeman plans to adopt a more attacking style of play with the Netherlands than the one established by his predecessor Louis van Gaal.

The Oranje reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar under Van Gaal, but criticisms were directed to a style of football that was perceived to be negative.

A five-man defensive line proved to be miserly, conceding just twice in the first four matches of the tournament, but fans wanted more creative output from a side that boasted the likes of Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo.

The Netherlands’ venture in Qatar came to an end against Argentina in a shoot-out defeat, having fought back from a two-goal deficit in a game that marked the final stand of Van Gaal’s third spell at the helm.

A similar approach will not be adopted under Koeman, who instead plans to return to the four-man defence he used during his previous stint in charge from 2018-2020.

“In principle, we are going back to the system we played before,” he said.

“I also change the system sometimes, but we are going to form the basic system with four defenders.

“In the end, it’s all about the implementation of the system. I also played with five players at the back at Barcelona, with three central defenders, and that went very well.

“Everything revolves around: put high pressure or let yourself sink. That makes a system offensive or not.”

Assessing the Netherlands’ performance at the World Cup, Koeman praised Van Gaal’s unbeaten record that stretched until the quarter-final defeat to Argentina and hopes he can enjoy a similar run of form, albeit in his own approach.

“We try to play attractive and fun football in the Netherlands. And twenty international matches remain unbeaten, that will be incredible if I manage to do the same,” he added.

“It can be done differently, and I want to do it differently.”

Koeman faces a baptism of fire on his return to the national side, with his first match coming against France in March as the qualification campaign for Euro 2024 begins.

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