It’s an interesting thing. During all the media outings, Louis van Gaal is super positive about the group, super positive about the work being done and the quality of his players.
He is keen to get good results in the Nations League and is proud of the lead. He is also telling everyone he knows that the group is “fantastic” and he has never worked with a better squad.
“It is about the team. The best team will win the World Cup. Not the best players.”
He even went so far – jokingly – to say that Noa Lang has more chances to win the Ballon D’Or than a certain Kevin DeBruyne. Okay….
During the presser for the Wales game, Van Gaal was fun, light and positive. Cillesen will play, De Ligt will be captain and Vincent Janssen will start.
About Janssen: “I need a target man in the #9 role. I want a player like this in my World Cup squad. Janssen can play like this in a 4-3-3 and if I switch to 4-3-3 I might need that. We will find out how he can play in a 3-4-3. Memphis and Bergwijn are different types of players.”
About the training sessions: “Of course we train on spot kicks. Every World Cup has matches decided by penalties. And we train them and I instructed my players to train them at the club. I have seen some players here, who should not be taking one… Which is a minus on their score card. The ability to take a penalty is part of the job description.”
The World Cup squad: “I want to have the full squad in my head by September. But it will always be with a big “but”. Players can get injured, loose form or other players might suddenly find form. But yes, by September I hope to have a good idea.”
All that positivity will be cancelled out by the response of the fans. Some of them here.
They think Van Gaal is playing the “confidence card” because LVG believes that only a positive mindset and an inflated sense of confidence is needed to lift the mediocre squad.
Some think Van Gaal plays 3-4-3 to accomodate his buddy’s son, Daley. Not realising that LVG has been a fan of the system for years and instructed Danny Blind in 2013 to analyse the way Italy and Juventus played, so he could work on bringing this to the Oranje squad.
Overall, the performances we saw in the first 3 Nations League games were a bit similar to the performances under De Boer at the Euros. Some good games and wins, and then a total off day, which cost us the Euros. Now, we blow Belgium off the pitch (but Belgium didn’t play at more than 65% of their capabilities) and we struggled versus Wales with the B-team (still, we won, but is that really that important?). Against Poland we had a dreadful first half and fighting spirit in the second. Memphis missing that penalty is probably a good thing. If we would have won, everyone would have thought all is well in the state of Denmark. Which it isn’t.
Tonight’s game versus Wales will hopefully end this weird late series of games on a high. I do hope the likes of Lang, Janssen and De Ligt will fire up this team and show us what they can do.
Potential line up:
Teze – De Vrij – De Ligt – Martins Indi – Malacia
Schouten – Koopmeiners
Janssen – Weghorst