What is the problem? Hiddink? Is it that easy?
The whole nation was in shock after the 2-0 defeat vs Iceland.
And all those people who rejoiced when Hiddink was signed up are now screaming for his head.
As if this wonderful squad ( no. 3 at the World Cup) under Van Gaal suddenly is impotent under Hiddink. As if a coach has that much impact during a couple of EC qualifiers.
Ronald de Boer really gave it to Guus. “He is too old. He doesn’t have a connection with his players, his tactics are non existent and his analyses are pathetic. They should sign Ronald Koeman!”
Ronald Koeman, doing really well with Southampton. “Oranje is totally not on the radar for me. Not now. That opportunity passed. They picked Hiddink. Their prerogative. But I have to admit, I did have a chuckle when I was watching them play Iceland. But I do want them to perform well of course, I am Dutch, so…. And they will. Hiddink will get it together.”
I personally believe the shift from Van Gaal to Hiddink was a big one. They’re very different. It’s like going from the Navy Seals to the local community gardens. Van Gaal is intense, dominating and very critical. Hiddink is loose, wants players to take responsibility and very supportive. Van Gaal is like a pitbull in interviews and press conferences, Hiddink is like your nice old granddad.
Or your nice old dad…because amidst of all this, there is also an issue of this guy coming out in the media claiming that Guus is his dad and he demands a dna test…. More headaches for Guus.
Anyway, Van Gaal didn’t perform too well with Oranje in the qualification times. Sure, he got the points alright against the minions. Something Guus has failed to do twice now. But Van Gaal’s friendlies were not that great and in the run up to Brazil we all thought our mediocre players would be ridiculed by Spain, Chile and the likes…. But look what Louis did only in 3 or 4 weeks of preparation… This is a time frame Hiddink hasn’t had yet and once can only assume that the former CL winner (PSV) and Real Madrid and South Korea/Australia coach can do too.
It’s all a bit early to determine that Guus is to blame. Guus didn’t tell Janmaat to take that risk in the last minute against the Cechs. And Guus didn’t instruct his forwards to be so sloppy against Czechie, Kazachstand and Iceland.
According to the Maestro (one Johan Cruyff) it is ridiculous to blame Hiddink. “The problem is hardly ever the coach. And when the coach is Hiddink, it most certainly isn’t the coach. Do you really think he has forgotten how to work his magic? There are a few problems here. Firstly, our individual qualities are not as great as we think they are. Sure, Robben, Van Persie, Sneijder…. have exceptional qualities, but players like Janmaat, Martins Indi and Wijnaldum are not there yet. Secondly, our players didn’t seem to be present, mentally. Now, this might be a coaching problem, but any team representing their country should need to rely on a coach to make them ready mentally. Thirdly, our midfield play doesn’t work, internationally. There is a reason Van Gaal used 5-3-2. He stacked the midfield with enough bodies to stop the opponent from exploring the space and he played counter attacking football. If we want to play dominant we need to rule in midfield. We simply cannot do this if we play with three midfielders: one sitting deep before the defence, one playing close to the striker and one filling the gaps. Our midfield will get bitch slapped every time. We need to play with three defenders and four midfielders in order to control the opponent. Kazachstan, Iceland and even Czech Republic…did we really need 4 defenders? Our midfield set up, at club level to start with, is wrong. And internationally we will be punished again and again. This is where we need to make changes.”
It does seem that we made a step back in time.
Van Gaal put himself and Oranje clearly on the map. But individually, we are slipping.
Van Persie doesn’t dominate. Afellay plays in a second tier competition. Sneijder is losing grip. Van der Vaart has fitness issues. Only Robben is firing on all cylinders, while De Jong is still going strong.
Van Ginkel, Maher, Clasie, Janmaat, Anita, Siem de Jong, Fer… I have yet to see it.
We have a bunch of older veterans, a number of would-be mid-tier players and a number of young talents who yet need to be tested consistently.
I think we should be fine once we get to the Euros, in 2016. So lets support Hiddink and make sure we do get there…..
In the meantime, there are some wrinkles visible. The KNVB did an evaluation with Hiddink after the dramatic results and a press release was sent out saying that “Hiddink would prepare an action plan” to get Oranje back in winning mode. Questioned by the media, Hiddink responded by saying “I would never use a word like “action plan”. That is not my style. I know what to do to get the team winning again, don’t worry.” And the KNVB had to quickly comment on that again. “The words we use don’t matter. What matters is that we know what we need to do.”
One first step Hiddink took, was to fly to Manchester to talk to his captain. Van Persie: “It was a critical evaluation, for sure. It was good and open but also direct and critical. We all know things need to change and the coach will go and talk to some of the other lads too.”
Van Persie will remain skipper, despite criticism on his behaviour, in particular after his clash with Huntelaar. “The coach was clear in what he wants to see differently. He has a tremendous drive. He is sharp, tough, also towards me. That is good. I came away with a good feeling. It was stern, but he has confidence.” The clash between Hunter and RVP has been resolved. “Oh yes, we have had our talk. I do realise that these images don’t help. We are both winners, we despise losing and want to be important for the team. I respect him tremendously as a player and he respects me too, I think. We do need to be a bit smarter in those situations but it does happen in the heat of the moment.”
On November 12, Oranje plays Mexico in a friendly and on 16 November Lithuania awaits. RVP: “The pressure is big but that is ok. We have failed. We, the players. It’s easy to give the blame to the coach, but we are doing it on the pitch. The coach creates the circumstances for us to excel in but we have to do it. Against Iceland, we let him down. And I spoke to most of the lads over the last weeks and we all realise that this is the case.”
Van Gaal is currently Robin’s club coach. A different style of coach. “Yes, they are not really similar, that is true, but so what? I have had that many times. As a player you need to deal with this. Hiddink gives the players a lot of responsibility but he is definitely the boss. He determines the tactics, although we all get to speak our minds.”