Football News

“The manager decides” — Van Gaal responds to Van Dijk’s criticism about his tactics

By Ben Green

Published: 15:00, 28 March 2022 | Updated: 20:45, 24 November 2022

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has leapt to the defence of his own tactics after international captain Virgil van Dijk questioned his system.

The Liverpool centre-back appeared to hit out at Van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 formation following the nation’s recent 4-2 win over Denmark, saying he prefers to play in a 4-3-3, a set-up he has become accustomed to at Anfield.

Although Oranje fired four past Denmark on Saturday, they looked susceptible at the back, with Jannik Vestergaard and Christian Eriksen getting their names on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Van Gaal has now retaliated to the recent criticism levelled at him by Van Dijk, saying he has already held discussions with his skipper about the set-up, and that ultimately he will make the final call.

He said: “I know he has that preference, he always said this publicly.

“We already had this debate when I came here. The manager decides the tactics.”

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Van Dijk started the weekend’s friendly in Amsterdam alongside Matthijs de Ligt and Nathan Ake in a back-three, and while he said there were some positives to take out of the game, his preference will always be to play in a formation heavily-favoured by Jurgen Klopp.

Van Dijk said: “Until today we have been training hard, with lots of tactics and meetings. There are good times but also things to improve. We will analyse this.

“Of course, we are playing in a new system, different things are required of the players. But I think we showed a lot of good things.

“Do I like the system? Well, I’m still in favour of 4-3-3 but I’m not the national coach and the national coach has a very strong opinion about it.”