Roberto Martínez, national team coach of Belgium, reacted piqued to a question from a journalist in the run-up to the Nations League match against Poland. The journalist quoted Louis van Gaal, but it had escaped the Belgian national coach’s attention that the Dutch national coach’s comment was intended with a wink.
Van Gaal stated after the Belgium – Netherlands (1-4) that his team put much more pressure on the ball than Belgium. When a Belgian journalist presented this statement to Martínez, he responded with a small sneer at his colleague: ,,With all due respect, Van Gaal also said that Noa Lang has a better chance of winning the Golden Ball than Kevin De Bruyne, so there you go. I do not respond,” said the Spaniard.
It seems that he had not fully understood Van Gaal’s clear wink. Van Gaal said with a quip that Lang could win the Golden Ball before De Bruyne, but mainly because Lang is an attacker. ,,Midfielders don’t win that quickly, so that’s his bad luck,” said Van Gaal after he complimented De Bruyne fully.
Duel with Orange
Logically, Martínez also received plenty of questions about the debacle against the Orange squad: ,,It is now important to release our strong emotions, even though of course we have to look back at that game and learn from it what went wrong. The first 20-25 minutes were good, we were in control and had a good chance at 1-0. Until the defensive intensity left something to be desired. It’s not fair to just criticize the defenders. You don’t defend with four, but with eleven,” said Martínez, who parried the criticism of the defense.
The Netherlands is a top team, they were also better than us on Friday evening. But in general they are certainly not stronger
Nevertheless, he admitted that it was indeed not going well against the Netherlands in the Belgian defense: ,,After the first half, we conceded three goals from three chances. That indicates that the defensively was really bad. But the game was really more balanced than the score suggests. But of course I hope for a reaction against Poland.”
Martínez also had to parry the necessary criticism about himself and about the slippage of the Belgian team: ,,When you lose, you obviously don’t hear that the tactic was the right one. You don’t win or lose games with tactics. I have tried a few things against the Netherlands, I use these matches to get as much information as possible towards the World Cup. People do not have all the information that we as technical staff do have.”
About the chances at the World Cup: ,,The Netherlands is a top team, they were also better than us on Friday evening. But in general they are certainly not stronger. Other top countries are also having a hard time. Look at France and Spain in this Nations League… We remain a top team, after one lost game you can’t suddenly talk about a bad team.”
No Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku will also miss Saturday’s game against Wales in the Nations League of Belgium against Poland on Wednesday. The Belgian top scorer injured his ankle last Friday in the 4-1 loss against the Netherlands.
,,He certainly doesn’t play against Poland and against Wales. The results of his medical examinations were not too bad. They weren’t as bad as we expected. But I don’t expect him to be able to play this international period anymore. There is still a very small chance that he will make it to the last game, but I fear it. He will stay with us for the time being,” said Martínez
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