Saturday 18 November 2017

Hiddink shrugs off Dutch critics

Guus Hiddink
Guus Hiddink

Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink sought to put to rest the debate of his continued tenure in charge of the team as he savoured a 2-0 win over Spain in a friendly international on Tuesday.

Hiddink (right), who took over from Louis van Gaal last August, has had to deal with repeated questions over his role in charge of the Dutch who have struggled through the first half of the Euro 2016 qualifiers and sit in third place in their group, behind the Czech Republic and Iceland.

A last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to Turkey on Saturday in their latest qualifier stirred up the debate as well as unleashing some heavyweight criticism.

"Don't keep asking me if I am staying on as coach," he told reporters after the victory over the former world champions, secured with early goals from Stefan de Vrij and Davy Klaassen.

"There is no weight fallen off my back now. I never felt any weight on my back. We were always very keen to win this game and I saw in the first half a side who were highly motivated.

"This gives a lot of confidence to the team, we must regard this match as a good start for our next qualifier."

The Dutch next play in Group A against Latvia away on June 12, preceded a week earlier by a home friendly against the United States.

Hiddink has been criticised by high profile former players Johan Cruyff and Wim van Hanegem, who pen influential weekly columns for Dutch newspapers. "I have no desire to get involved in any street fights," he added.

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