Monday, March 18, 2019

Low confirms under-fire Neuer to start against France

SoccerNews in La Liga 15 Oct 2018

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Manuel Neuer has received a vote of confidence from Germany coach Joachim Low, with the goalkeeper assured of a starting place against France despite attracting criticism of late.

The 32-year-old missed the majority of last season with a broken foot and has struggled to rediscover his best form since returning to action at the World Cup in Russia.

Before his injury problems, most would have regarded the Bayern Munich man as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but recent performances have suggested his spell on the sidelines has had an impact.

His Bayern displays against Augsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach caused concern, while he was unconvincing in Germany’s 3-0 defeat to Netherlands – including an error that resulted in Virgil van Dijk’s opener.

Both pundits and fans have suggested it is time for Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen to take over, though Neuer is set to be picked on Tuesday when Germany look to get their first Nations League win.

“We have to make tactical changes because we suffered a lot of counter-attacks against Netherlands, and that is very important because France are even stronger for that,” Low told reporters.

“We want to play a courageous game against the world champions. It’s obvious that we need changes at the personnel level after suffering a 3-0 defeat. The only thing I can say is that Manuel Neuer will start.

“The defeat to Netherlands hurt everybody; me, the players, staff and fans, but it was not really surprising for me.

“We have started a new process after the World Cup and there will be steps. The first 30 minutes against Netherlands, we did a good game, but we have a lack of confidence and we showed it.

“We lack the structure in attacks that we had in the past. We have to change things tactically against the world champions.”

Former Bayern and Germany star Lothar Matthaus has been among those calling for Neuer to be dropped, but the goalkeeper is generally content with his own performances.

“Basically, I didn’t look very good for the first goal [against Netherlands], but if we won the aerial duel then it looks different,” he said.

“I’m quite happy with my game, except for this incident. I am also in top shape. I’ve been missing luck every now and then.”

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