Koeman vows to restore Dutch pride
ZEIST, Netherlands (AP):
Ronald Koeman took charge of the struggling Netherlands team yesterday, saying he wants to restore players' pride in representing the three-time World Cup runner-up.
Koeman vowed to make the team competitive again, even though he does not have a wealth of world-class talent at his disposal. The Netherlands missed out on this summer's World Cup in Russia, having also failed to qualify for the 2016 European Championship.
"It is time for us to be back at a tournament," Koeman said.
Koeman was a key member of the team that won Euro 1988 and said the team's recent decline shows today's footballers need to learn from each other about discipline, love for the game and pride in representing their country, he said.
"I've sometimes missed that in the Netherlands team and I think we can improve that a lot," he said. "I sometimes get the feeling that players think, 'we've left our club and it is nice and easy, we can relax.'"
The 54-year-old Koeman signed a contract until the 2022 World Cup and replaces Dick Advocaat, who was appointed as a stop-gap measure in June after Danny Blind was fired.
The target now for the former Everton and Southampton boss is to reach the same level, on and off the pitch, as the team that finished third at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil under Louis van Gaal after losing on penalties to Argentina in the semi-finals. The Netherlands lost the 2010 World Cup final to Spain.