The national coach sent eleven other players into the field against Wales than Friday at the start of the Nations League against Belgium. Orange triumphed in Brussels with good football at times with 4-1, but it was a lot more difficult against Wales.
“We had too many unnecessary ball losses in the first half. And then you can’t attack. We barely got to the goal before halftime. Wales didn’t have a chance in the first half either, defensively it just looked good,” said Van Gaal, who brought in two strong players halfway through the second half with Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn. “We were 1-0 up when they came in and it was 1-1 after that. But Frenkie did introduce a fantastically executed counter, as a result of which we still won. He brings extra qualities with him, we don’t have to discuss that. That is why I believe he is worth 112 million euros.
Teze and Schouten
Van Gaal was dissatisfied with Jordan Teze and Jerdy Schouten, who made their debut for Orange as basic players. “They suffered too much loss of the ball, especially before half-time,” said the national coach.
“Schouten suffered less loss of ball than Teze,” said Van Gaal. “But he also always played the ball to the nearest station. I’d rather he skip a few stations. Although I think that in the end Schouten still got a pass.”
Van Gaal saw Teze and Schouten perform better in training last week than during the international match against Wales. “But I already said it before the game: playing in the national team is stressful. You also see that the Orange shirt weighs heavily for Gakpo. I think he is a fantastic talent, but he can do much better than he showed now. He also had a bit of bad luck last season, he was often injured.”
Van Gaal does not intend to transfer young Orange players to his selection now that the promises have already qualified for the European Championship. “If I have injured players, I will. But basically I will continue with what I planned for these four games.”
Matthijs de Ligt is taken to the side.
Van Gaal careful with De Ligt
Van Gaal does not know whether he can call on Matthijs de Ligt during the home match of the Dutch national team against Poland in the Nations League on Saturday. The defender was injured in the final phase of the game against Wales.
“Matthijs would normally have started against Poland,” said Van Gaal. “But now I have to wait. I’m definitely not going to overload him. If he doesn’t make it, I may call someone else. I have already said which players I like,” he referred to Sven Botman and Lutsharel Geertruida, who are with the Dutch Juniors. “I don’t need to mention those names again.”
National coach Rob Page was disappointed by the defeat of Wales. “If you equalize in the 92nd minute, then you have to cherish that point,” he said of Rhys Norrington-Davies’ 1-1. “I think it’s pretty naive that we concede another hit.”
Wales did not start the Nations League with the same opportunities as the Dutch national team, Poland and Belgium. “We put everything on last Sunday’s game against Ukraine,” Page said. “We succeeded, after 64 years we can go to the World Cup. We are very proud of that. But because of the game with Ukraine, we played with substitutes against Poland last Wednesday. We lost only 2-1, but we lost. And we couldn’t play with our best team against the Netherlands because of the game with Ukraine. That’s a shame, but the next four matches in the Nations League are convenient for us. During those duels we want to get used to the level that we can expect from our opponents at the World Cup.”