AMSTERDAM: New Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman says he will return to the traditional Dutch way of playing after predecessor Lous van Gaal upset sensibilities by changing the team's approach during his tenure in charge.
Koeman, who had been named as successor to Van Gaal last year already, was officially unveiled on Monday (Jan 23) at a news conference and said he would field a team with four defenders again, rather than the three centre backs and two wing backs that Van Gaal had preferred over the last 18 months.
"In principle, we are going back to the system we played before," said Koeman, who had been Dutch coach previously from 2018 to 2020 before leaving abruptly for Barcelona.
"I will sometimes change systems, but we will follow the basic principle of four defenders."
Dutch sensibilities over tactics were irritated when Van Gaal abandoned the traditional 4-3-3 approach for a more counter-attacking game.
Van Gaal insisted it was the only way to become world champions but Koeman said he felt at times while watching the World Cup in Qatar that there might have been a bit more flexibility in the Dutch approach and tactical set-up.
The Netherlands were eliminated by eventual winners Argentina in the quarter-finals last month.
Koeman, who turns 60 in March, said he had discussed the issue with some players already. "You have to ask them what they think about it."
Asked whether he had spoken to Van Gaal, who had always been due to leave after the World Cup, Koeman said: "No. I haven’t done and I don't find that interesting either. I have my own ideas and experience. I don't think it's necessary."
Koeman said he would be chasing trophies, starting with the Nations League in June. The Netherlands host the four-team final tournament, against Croatia, Italy and Spain.
But his first match back in charge will be a European Championship qualifier against France in Paris on Mar 24.