Former Dutch international and current Ajax youth assistant Ronald De Boer has torn into the new national team setup that shockingly fell to Iceland 2-0 in Euro qualifying.
With the loss sending the entire country into a tailspin of finger-pointing and blame, this was no different.
“There will be lot of criticism towards Hiddink back home,” De Boer said to Sky Sports after the loss. “There was already doubt when he got nominated for the job and now there will only be more. He is under enormous pressure and has a lot of explaining to do. We are known for our game-plan in Holland – we had one with Van Gaal, who is a much better coach than Hiddink, but I don’t see a game-plan at the moment.”
Louis van Gaal took the country to the semifinals of the World Cup this past summer, but left his post for a shot to turn Manchester United around.
Hiddink, a former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager who also has a wealth of national team experience at the helm of Russia, Turkey, Australia, and South Korea, took over.
But the 67-year-old has struggled mightily in his early tenure. He began with an embarrassing 2-0 loss to Italy in September, with both goals conceded and a sending off in the opening 10 minutes of the match. The Netherlands opened Euro qualifying with a loss to the Czech Republic five days after the Italy defeat, he needed a comeback to beat Kazakhstan in the first match of this current international break, and the loss to Iceland has opened an enormous can of worms.
“Hiddink has a great record but in my eyes he is done because he is 67-years-old and his ideas are old-fashioned,” De Boer said. “[Southampton manager Ronald] Koeman, who really wanted the job, showed with Feyenoord that he can really shape a team and he also knows the mentality of those young boys. Guus is more of a people manager and someone who puts his arm around players and laughs. But these boys need guidance and to be told what to do as a team.”
However negative those in his home country get, the players aren’t blaming their manager, at least not publicly. Manchester United striker Robin van Persie stood behind his boss.
That’s not fair towards Guus and his staff. Guus is a fantastic coach. We see that every day,” Van Persie told Dutch TV channel NOS. “It is very painful to lose here in this way. We have actually been dangerous in a way. We know what to do, but the execution is not good. ”
The Netherlands currently sit a distant third in their Euro qualifying group with their three points against Kazakhstan. They are topped by both teams who have beaten them – Iceland and the Czechs – who have three wins in three.