OSLO: Louis van Gaal began his latest tenure as Netherlands national coach with a 1-1 draw against Norway on Wednesday and said the performance showed his side were not world class.
The 70-year-old had only two days of training with the team before their World Cup Group G qualifier and said afterwards his side had been too careless and were off form.
The visitors had to fight back after Erling Haaland scored for the hosts and survived a second-half scare when the 21-year-old forward struck the woodwork, but Denzel Dumfries could also have snatched all three points for the Dutch with the last kick of the match.
“Our opponent defended in a very compact space and that made it difficult and in those situations you then have to be very creative and solid on the ball. And we weren't ... we lost the ball in situations that I didn't think were necessary," Van Gaal told reporters.
“I told the players that we had been careless. But that's also because of the way Norway played.
“We can think that this Dutch national team is world class, but it is not. We have to function as a team. Norway played very well as a team.”
In addition to picking up a point on the road there was an added bonus for the Dutch when group leaders Turkey gave up a late goal to Montenegro for a 2-2 draw in Istanbul.
Van Gaal's side trail Turkey by a point in the group.
“But if we don't start winning games, we don't deserve to finish top of the group,” Van Gaal said.
The Netherlands host Montenegro in Eindhoven on Saturday and then Turkey in Amsterdam next Tuesday in their next two qualifiers.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)