A frustrated Ronald Koeman said the Dutch national team was ‘on the right path’ despite going down 2-1 to France in their opening UEFA Nations League match.
Ryan Babel’s 65th-minute equaliser in the Stade de France briefly gave the Dutch hope and Memphis Depay came close minutes later before Olivier Giroud’s volley on 75 minutes claimed all three points for the World Cup winners.
Koeman told NOS he was particularly aggrieved by poor defending for the winning goal. ‘I’m really angry about that,’ he said. ‘We lost because of our own mistakes. The most painful was the second goal. We should have covered the striker and blocked the shot.’
The coach said his team had shown France too much respect in the first half, when Kylian Mbappe put the hosts ahead. ‘But when we decide to play football, we can do it. We saw that in the second half.’
He added: ‘We’re on the right path and at times we showed that today. We’ve got the colour back in our cheeks. But there are things we need to improve so we can compete at the highest level.’
The Netherlands’ next Nations League match is at home to Germany on October 13.
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