A lot has happened in between PT2 and PT3. For starters, we saw Sneijder being subbed, Robben being benched, RPV getting injured, Heitinga being snubbed, Mathijsen fumbling, Stekelenburg not playing, Van der Wiel rested, Huntelaar injured and out of form, Afellay injured….
Not too positive.
But we also saw BMI/De Vrij, Blind, Janmaat, Clasie, Maher, Lens, Ola John…
Not too shabby.
But for now, we will take our mind of all that and return to the thoughts of our Great Big Leader.
SV: In terms of playing style… Is it correct that in your system, you left the team sit deeper when losing possession than Van Marwijk?
LVG: Correct. In my view, this fits our skills better. We want to create some space. Make the playing field tight. Easier to get possession back and once we do, we can use the space up front with the specific qualities of Robben, Lens, Narsingh, Schaken and Van Persie. We sort of demonstrated that against – of all opponents – Andorra. Against them, we pressured high up the park. We did get the ball back early but hardly any space to move. Against Romania, we dropped deeper and we were much more effective. I call that provoking pressure. We did that in my AZ days too, but no one recognised it. Everyone said we played so offensive, but we really didn’t. We were quick on the break once we had the ball, sure, but we always created our space first. That is a subtle difference to the Barcelona system, which I want Oranje to play. The passing game Barca plays is technically perfect, but its too wide. They play the ball 10 meters diagonally max, and then back again or wide to the other flank. I believe in bypassing the nearest stations and finding the goal more directly. You need to provoke the space first, so to speak. And then you can utilise space for swift, deep actions. I think it’s more entertaining and more effective. Barca wants the ball really quickly but they will be high up the park and they will have absorped lots of space doing so. Despite the moments of genius of a couple of world class players it gets boring, to me. And the KNVB wants me to develop – or re-discover a Dutch style of playing. The Barca style is not that. I am happy with the feedback I am getting and we’re only 7 months on the way.”
SV: What strikes me too is the way midfield operates. Your midfield rotates constantly, and squeezes and adapts. Sometimes it’s two defensive players, then it’s one. What kind of agreements can you make with the players at that level?
LVG: It’s all about football intelligence. And this has to do with the skills of Kevin Strootman. That is a a great player. He is the man with balance in midfield. He makes his decisions instinctively and he hardly ever makes the wrong choice.”
SV: And the rest simply follows?
LVG: Strootman adapts quickly to what is going down. I have seldom seen a player with those qualities. Philip Cocu, Jari Litmanen, Iniesta… Strootman allows us to play with one defensive mid and he can play box to box with tremendous legs and lungs. And with Leroy Fer, we simply have another player like Strootman. Fer needs to prove himself but is these type of players are essential. And if you combine these qualities with the top 3 or 4 of our creative players, you have a lethal team.”
SV: Does this mean you will be pushing either Sneijder or Van der Vaart on a flank?
LVG: No, Sneijder and Van der Vaart are the guys who make the play. And these lads need to play where they feel they offer the most value, where they feel most comfortable. But in my system, I think only one of the two will play, normally.
SV: It seems that Oranje has basically qualified… It’s key to keep everyone motivated and focused. Is it hard?
LVG: I don’t think it will be. I am very self motivated and my whole staff is intensively following our progress. Danny, Pat, the others…we are all focused on process more than results. So once we qualify, great! But that is not the end goal. The end goal is be the best we can be. I think that as long as we are super motivated, we will have that impact on the players too. And if I notice that one or more players are not that focused, I will replace them. Quite easy for a national coach. Less easy for a club coach. But our goal is: to get better every time, so there is never time to sit back and loose focus.
We will now look at one favority practice Louis van Gaal uses with his squads. It looks simple but it covers quite a philosophy.
– passing distance – 12 to 18 yards
– even if a mistake is made, the players keep on rotating as to keep the pace going
– good pitch
– match balls.
– de receiving player is supposed to run away from his marker with an explosive sprint, into the ball
– if the player turns away on the right hand side, the ball needs to be passed on the right foot
– if the player turns away on the left hand side, the left foot
– there needs to be continuous movement without the ball
– the ball needs to be passed as fast as possible
– players should ask the maximum of one another, making mistakes is not a problem, the main condition is utter concentration
– the triangle format is chosen as it represents the system the team plays in the matches… (left back/left midfield/left wing or leftback/centerback/centermidfield or leftback, leftmidfield, centermidfield, etc etc)….
– the triangle offers most of the often occurring passing options like players will encounter on the pitch.
– Van Gaal chances instructions sometimes, allowing players only touch, or two touches, or a bounce back first…
– sometimes the passing player needs to track back around a marker
– sometimes a player needs to sprint to the next marker and the pass needs to be perfect in pace
– finding the third player
Thanks to magazine De Voetbal trainer