MADRID, Dec. 8 (.) –
The Netherlands coach, Louis Van Gaal, acknowledged this Thursday, prior to the quarterfinal match against Argentina, that the real World Cup “begins now” for his team, while stressing that it is “sad” that the Argentine player Ángel Di María considers him the worst coach he has ever had, during his time at Manchester United.
“Argentina is one of the leading countries in the world. The real World Cup begins now for us. I don’t want to minimize the importance of the previous games, but Argentina and perhaps Brazil in the next round are teams of a different level from the rest,” said the Dutch coach at a press conference.
In addition, the coach valued Di Maria’s statements, in which he pointed out that he was the worst coach he had ever had. “Ángel is a very good player, he played for United and had a lot of personal problems. They had robbed him at home. That he called me the worst coach of his career is sad. But he is one of the few players who has said so I don’t like that he declared it,” he said.
Asked about the albiceleste majority in the stands, Van Gaal appealed to his team’s professionalism and confessed that he hopes it won’t affect them. “My players are professional enough to deal with this environment. There will be more than 40,000 Argentines in the stands and some 1,400 Dutch, but I hope it doesn’t affect us,” he acknowledged.
The Dutch coach also alluded to his style of play and acknowledged that he has evolved as a coach over the years. “My style has evolved because football has. At Ajax I was very offensive. At Barça I learned that you can’t always pursue that offensive goal. I changed my mind, and I developed my new vision in that 2014 World Cup. On a personal level , I have more patience than before. Perhaps my personality has not changed so much in terms of how I see football,” he said.
“They always ask me the same question, but football also evolves. Now it is much more complicated than 20 years ago. It is difficult to play now as I played with Ajax almost 30 years ago. In 2014 I developed a more defensive system, at first they criticized me but later it was seen that it gave good results. People think that we only defend, but it is not like that, we also try to press. It all depends on the tactical approach”, he expressed.
On the departure of Luis Enrique from the Spanish team, the coach of the Netherlands did not want to go into details. “He was a very professional player and scored a lot of goals at key moments in the game. I can’t judge him as a coach, I can’t have an opinion about it, I can’t say anything about the fact that he’s not still in Spain. It’s a shame for Luis Enrique. It’s never easy to leave a position like this. It’s not always the coach’s fault,” he said.
On the other hand, the Dutch player Memphis Depay also spoke to the media before the match against Argentina, and acknowledged wanting a rematch of the 2014 World Cup, when the albiceleste eliminated them in the semifinals on penalties. “I have a bittersweet memory of that World Cup and I want to remove that thorn. I would like to remove it already in the game on Friday,” he said.
The FC Barcelona footballer also praised the work of the veteran coach and highlighted his figure in the locker room. “He’s a guy you adore. It’s evident in the results. Since he arrived we haven’t lost a game and discipline has increased since he became the coach. That’s been very important for everyone,” he added.
“Everyone knows his vision of the game, his personality and his qualities when it comes to building strong, solid teams with different styles of play. In any case, all his teams have stood out for their mentality and for their search for victory”, concluded.