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Koeman vows attacking play on return as Netherlands coach

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Ronald Koeman pledged Monday to take the Netherlands again to enjoying engaging, attacking soccer as he started his second stint answerable for the nationwide staff that misplaced within the World Cup quarterfinals to eventual winner Argentina.

The 59-year-old Koeman mentioned he wished a return to the optimistic play of his first interval as nationwide coach from 2018-20, when he led a gifted younger staff to qualification for the European Championship and the inaugural closing of the Nations League.

He seemed again not solely on these achievements, “however the best way we did it. We actually need to get again to that,” he mentioned.

His feedback got here after some sections of the Dutch sports activities media had been vital of Koeman’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, for what they perceived as a defensive model of play on the World Cup in November and December.

“I noticed moments in matches once I thought, ‘This may be completely different, this should be completely different,’” Koeman mentioned of his expertise watching the Netherlands in Qatar.

“Within the Netherlands we attempt to play — and that’s usually essentially the most troublesome path — good, engaging, attacking soccer,” he mentioned.

Referring to Van Gaal’s spectacular undefeated run as much as the World Cup quarterfinals, Koeman mentioned: “Twenty internationals with out dropping — it could be unbeliveable if I additionally handle that.”

However, he added: “I believe it may be executed otherwise and I need to do it otherwise.”

Koeman was first appointed nationwide coach with the Netherlands within the doldrums after failing to qualify for the 2016 European Championship and 2018 World Cup. He led the staff to a runner-up end within the inaugural Nations League and was set to teach the staff on the 2020 European Championship earlier than it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However when his dream job — teaching Barcelona — opened up after Quique Setién was fired, Koeman stop and moved again to the membership the place he made his identify as an uncompromising defender and the place he nonetheless lives.

Koeman lasted lower than two seasons at Barcelona earlier than being fired because the membership struggled within the Spanish league and Champions League.

Now he says he has one thing to show in his second stint with the Netherlands.

“I’ve to reveal I generally is a profitable coach who’s profitable at a serious event,” he mentioned. “Step one is qualifiers for the European Championship that begins in March.”

Koeman’s first match within the qualification spherical is a tricky one — the Netherlands performs dropping World Cup finalist France on March 24 in Paris. Additionally within the qualification group are Eire, Greece and Gibraltar.

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Extra AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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