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The party of conservative Louis van Gaal


The Dutch coach, adored by his players in Qatar, says he turned defensive while managing Barca in 1998

"Van Gaal was a man of fixed ideas," says Sonny Anderson.

“He liked to play one way and he didn't want to hear about other possibilities.

He Now he has changed!

But I'm not sure if I like him.

This Netherlands plays ugly!"

Anderson doesn't know it, but on January 19, 1998, as a Barça player, he was one of the causes of the Netherlands playing like that.

That night at the Camp Nou began the most spectacular metamorphosis that a coach has experienced in recent decades.

Louis van Gaal himself recounted it when last week he was reminded of the daring spirit that prompted him to elevate 4-3-3 to the category of extreme sports 30 years ago.

"I don't live in the past," he replied;

“I live in the present and in the future.

My DNA was Ajax.

Use two extremes, attack, attack and attack.

Nothing more.

Until one day, when I was coaching Barça, we lost against Valencia 3-4 after leading 3-0.

I reflected and saw that I necessarily had to be making a mistake.

If you don't look at the qualities of the opponents and contrast them with your players,

You don't realize that to win you have to be less offensive.

The Ajax system is more attractive but if you manage a national team, sticking to 4-3-3 is even less realistic because you can't sign specialists if you don't have them”.

When after beating the United States in the round of 16 he entered the Regis hotel dancing the


with his players, at the Doha concentration, the man closed the circle of his paradox.

At 71, sick with cancer and transformed into an outspoken conservative, Van Gaal relates to the world with more compassion and love than when he championed the school of the intrepid and his footballers suffered from his arrogance.

"Mister, aren't we taking too many risks?" Mauricio Pellegrino, Barça's central defender, asked him one day, given the evidence that his defense would be left even in the open field with the rival attackers.

"No!" The technician replied.

"They are so bad!".

This Tuesday, Van Gaal gathered the Dutch press at the Regis to try to convince the correspondents —and his very critical fans— of the wisdom of his mutation.

"I was the first to realize the direction that football was taking," he explained to them, to refute the 4-3-3 and declare the new order, less rigid but more cautious, be it 5-3-2 or from 4-4-2.

“Don't you realize that Argentina, France and Brazil, even though they have other tactical schemes, do the same as me?

I've been saying for a year that we can be champions.

But to be able to achieve it we must play like this”.

Van Gaal uses his record: he has played 11 World Cup games and has never been defeated.

His Netherlands has gone 19 games undefeated.

He plays with three center backs, two wingers, two pivots and three attackers capable of getting into midfield to combine with one touch.

Luis Milla, the Valencia midfielder who came back from 0-3, on the day of his tactical epiphany, warns: “Ranieri's drawing of Valencia in 1998 was the same as that of this Netherlands: 5-3-2.

But the mentality and the idea no.

When you play with three central defenders like Van Dijk, Aké or De Ligt, and two or three have a good footing, if there is good circulation there will come a time when one of them can drive to set a mark and make the rival close.

Then you can find passes on the outside with the full-backs, like they did with Blind and Dumfries against the United States."

improve with the ball

"On the day of 3-4, Barça gave us a bath," recalls Milla.

“And in the second half we won like Ranieri.

We scored all the goals against.

Van Gaal does something else.

Holland plays with a line of three center backs to combine, attract the opponent with many players inside and carry the ball from one side to the other, and also has the possibility of stealing and running.

They have several records.

Arsène Wenger frowns.

"I wouldn't classify Van Gaal as a conservative," says the former Arsenal manager, now head of FIFA's technical committee.

“He's just a little more cautious.

Dutch football has always been characterized by its offensive nature.

The possessions of the Netherlands in this World Cup have decreased a bit.

I don't know what exactly to attribute it to, but they have been very efficient.

It has worked for him.

I would not dare to judge the potential of this team from what we have seen so far.

I think they will grow."

Against the USA, the Dutch barely had 41% of the ball.

But this is not exactly what Van Gaal pursued.

"If we are not able to improve with the ball," he said, "teams like Argentina or France will beat us."

The footballers follow him.

More than ever.

Virgil van Dijk and Frenkie de Jong are fascinated by the aura - and the comical look - of a man who could be their grandfather.

He reciprocates with something that is a lot like affection.

“I enjoy hanging out with these players,” he says.

“They are the most enthusiastic group I have ever had, the most disciplined, and the one that best responds to instructions.”

Van Dijk couldn't contain his smile when asked about the kiss given to Gakpo by the ogre-voiced coach who once represented the most daring football and has now become pleasantly defensive and tender: “What you see is what you get! there are!".

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2022-12-08

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