7 September 2014 17:05
Guus Hiddink is aiming to overcome a difficult start to his second spell at the Netherlands reins when Euro 2016 qualifying begins in Prague.
With Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart out injured, the Dutch lost 2-0 away to Italy on Thursday, hindered by an early red card for Bruno Martins Indi.
That set a disappointing tone for Hiddink, who took over a side buoyed by their unexpected third-place finish at the World Cup.
Yet Hiddink, who replaced new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, has plenty of experience and will be confident of steadying the ship.
He believes the key to his side’s upcoming encounter is making a better start than against Italy.
“The evening was already over after eight minutes,” Hiddink rued. “During the opening stages, we were naive in our defending.
“We were so easily overrun and that should not be the case. You cannot start a match so badly.”
Hiddink was nonetheless pleased key striker Robin van Persie got some minutes under his belt.
“It’s nice that Van Persie could play a little longer,” he said. “He sacrificed himself for the team very well.”
Hiddink’s starting XI against Italy resembled the one that shone in Brazil. However, a number of youngsters are pushing for inclusion, such as in-form PSV pair Luciano Narsingh and Memphis Depay and Ajax playmaker Davy Klaassen.
Depay in particular seems to have caught the boss’ eye, with Hiddink waxing lyrical about the forward’s potential.
He said: “Depay can be the best. He has more potential than I first thought. He is the man who could be dangerous.”
Pavel Vrba has also had a testing time since filling the Czech Republic hotseat, having failed to win any of his four matches.
His woes were added to by a friendly defeat on Wednesday, Alejandro Bedoya grabbing the only goal to earn United States a victory.
And while goalkeeper Petr Cech and playmaker Tomas Rosicky decided against international retirement, they are no longer first-choice starters at Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
Turkey, Latvia, Iceland and Kazakhstan also make up Group A.
Czech Republic and the Netherlands have won three of their nine meetings apiece.