Mark van Bommel has blamed Louis van Gaal for the current state of the Dutch national team.

  • By Michael Bell
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vn-bommel-oranjVan Gaal led Netherlands to the World Cup semi-final in 2014, but after he left the Oranje endured a slump and failed to qualify for Euro 2016. Speaking to L’Equipe, Mark van Bommel has stated his belief that van Gaal’s decision to switch from a  4-3-3 to 3-5-2 formation is the reason Netherlands are struggling at the moment.

Van Bommel said, “I think France-Netherlands in March 2014 was a real turning point. Normally, Louis van Gaal opted for a 4-3-3 system, but during that game, he suddenly went to a 3-5-2 that changed everything.

“Yes, with that set-up our national team reached the World Cup semifinals, but looking back, I think some of the current problems come from that change in tactics. It’s in 4-3-3 that the Netherlands won things.

“We’re now too dependent on Arjen (Robben). In Brazil, it was he who sent us into the semifinals, because he was in the best form of his life. But to be so dependent on one player is never a good sign. Above all, the whole team has to work.”

The former midfielder went on to say the current side are in a crisis and criticized the youngsters coming into the side at the moment. He said, “They’re too romantic. They don’t have enough of a winning mentality. They prefer playing well to winning.

“We have a big problem. Robben and Wesley Sneijder are closer to the end of their careers than the start. Robin van Persie, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Nigel de Jong are no longer called up and the future leaders are Kevin Strootman and Georginio Wijnaldum.

“But between them and the young players, there is a huge gap. And our young talents are less good than those of 10 years ago. We’re going through a real crisis. Finishing fourth in a qualifying group behind Iceland, Czech Republic and Turkey is not acceptable.”

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