Ronald Koeman, who succeeded compatriot Louis van Gaal at the head of the coaching staff of the Dutch national football team since the beginning of the year, confirmed on Monday that he will be a tactically “very different” coach from his predecessor.
And the former international defender said during a press conference in the city of Zeist in the center of the country that he would adopt “a return to the old system with four defenders, not five (as in the Qatar World Cup 2022),” adding, “I will work with my ideas and experiences.”
Koeman, 59, did not consider it “essential” to have a discussion with Van Gaal upon taking over.
He added in this regard, “I have spoken to a number of players, in particular about the system that will be put in place. Their opinion is important. He (Van Gaal) has remained unbeaten in 25 games during his tenure. It would be amazing if I could achieve that but I want to achieve it in a different way.” During the World Cup, there were moments when I said he needed to make a change.”
During his reign that ended with the end of the World Cup last December, Van Gaal did not lose any matches in the regular and extra time, as the Netherlands were knocked out in the quarter-finals by a penalty shootout against Argentina, who won the title.
Koeman returns for the second time to supervise the “mills” after a first period between 2018 and 2020 in which he reached the final of the European Nations League 2019 and succeeded in leading them to the European Cup that was held in 2021. He did not supervise the national team during the continental championship, as he preferred to leave for Barcelona, Spain, and Frank de bur instead of him.
Koeman aspires to lead the Netherlands to only the second title in its history after the 1988 European Cup, “the European Nations League or a major tournament.”
The Netherlands reached the European Nations League finals along with Spain, Italy and Croatia, which will be held next June, and the qualifiers for the European Cup 2024 and the World Cup 2026 await when Koeman’s contract expires.