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Van Gaal hails "efficient" Netherlands win

22 Nov 2022, 11:18 GMT+10

DOHA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal admitted he was not entirely satisfied after his team produced a late burst to beat Senegal 2-0 in their FIFA World Cup Group A match on Monday.

The Netherlands dominated for long stages of the first half but lacked a cutting edge in the final third at the Thumama Stadium. Senegal had several clear scoring chances in the second half before Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen struck in the last 15 minutes for the Dutch.

"It was an efficient victory," Van Gaal told a post-match press conference. "We played the first half with poor decision-making when carrying the ball. But we still created five chances. In the second half the match was more balanced ... [but] I was quite calm because I always had the feeling we would score."

Van Gaal, who replaced Frank de Boer as Netherlands manager in June 2021, said his players benefitted from superior fitness.

"I would agree that it was an efficient victory but I thought we were fitter," the 71-year-old said. "The Senegalese spent a lot of time lying on the ground which is why we had to play for an extra eight minutes [of stoppage time]. I will agree we were too shoddy in possession and it wasn't a good game from us in that respect but it was a good defensive performance."

He added: "It was a very tough match for us. We made some changes [in the second half] and put some players in different positions. A 2-0 victory against the champions of the Africa Cup means I can be very pleased."

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