Louis van Gaal is in Israel. Danny Blind and him will be scouting the 12 capped players in Pot’s squad. “We are also hear to stimulate them of course. I selected a great number of these lads so It’s only logical that I’m here to see how they operate in a tournament like this.”
Van Gaal is not going to meet with the players or with Cor Pot. “I am not here to obstruct their process or to interfere. I am in another hotel. I will not wander over to their hotel.”
Van Gaal clearly would like to be invited by Pot. Earlier in the week, the two coaches had a bit of a spat. Van Gaal commented on the first game against Germany, saying the first half was good, but the second half was below par. This stung Cor Pot who responded in the media and later had to field questions about it. When asked at a press conference on his birthday whether he had been congratulated by Van Gaal, he said: “He sent me an sms after the Germany game to congratulate, but not on my birthday.”
When asked later if he got annoyed with Louis van Gaal’s behaviour. He said “Holland has 16 mio team manager and he actually is a real one. So yes, he can have an opinion. I don’t mind that he gives his opinion, but in all honesty I doesn’t mean anything to me. It is easy to judge from a distance. We are doing this project and we do this ourselves.”
The tension is palpable when asked whether he reports back to Van Gaal. “Report back? No? Why? He can watch tv, can’t he? This is my team.”
Pot realises more and more that his decision to bench the whole first team was a huge risk. Winning against Italy is almost a must for him as losing will undoubtedly result in “we told you so” stories. (Like I said post-game).
This might well have been a mastermove by a James Bond Villainesqe football coach as the players might be totally motivated to win it.
Pot: ” That is football. Opportunistic. If we win, we party. If we lose, it’s my fault. That is how it works.”
Adam Maher is quite convinced we win the whole thing. “I shouldn’t say that. Let us focus on Italy first. But we are strong and haven’t played out best football yet. We are good in big games. Four years ago, I was at the 2007 World Cup in Nigeria and we had a bunch of similar lads then, like Ola John, Martins Indi…But we lacked the mentality then.”
Maher admits he needs to be more important. “I hope I can bring it in this game. These knock out games are good as they allow for more space. My second game vs Italy…”
Adam Maher played his first cap for Oranje against Italy, and Pirlo.
“That was such an honour, Pirlo is one of my heroes on the field. And now I play against him. It was really good to see how he choses the simple ball and never tried to do something clever for the sake of it. He is so efficient. I think I played him well and I have his jersey!”