AMSTERDAM, Aug 1 (Reuters) - New Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink said he will make no drastic changes to the team after their third-place finish at the World Cup, lauding the work of Louis van Gaal and suggesting he would be no slavish follower of the traditional Dutch style of play.
“Dutch football has been given a boost and we must use that. I won’t be making many changes, we are going to keep the consistency,” Hiddink said at his official unveiling in Zeist on Friday.
The 67-year-old coach returns for a second spell with the Dutch national team, having previously been in charge from 1995 to 1998, when they also reached the World Cup semi-finals in France.
Hiddink has a two-year contract after which his assistant Danny Blind will take over in 2016.
“The team did really well in Brazil and we must acknowledge that,” he said.
“We must now ask ourselves in which facet of our play we can improve.”
He also suggested he would follow Van Gaal in dispensing with the traditional Dutch attacking style when necessary.
Van Gaal, who has moved on to Manchester United, caused a major stir when he abandoned the usual 4-3-3 formation for a more defensive approach at the World Cup with an emphasis on quick counter-attacks.
It brought the coach criticism initially, although that quickly faded as the Netherlands beat defending champions Spain 5-1 in their opening match in Brazil and went on to finish third.
“The Netherlands has become renowned for the Holland school of football, with an attractive way of playing the game. But there is a lot more to it, firstly the instinct to survive. This the team demonstrated superbly at the World Cup,” Hiddink told reporters.
“I’ve learnt during my adventures overseas that other football cultures have a reflex of survival. This reflex would bring Dutch football to new heights. The ‘Holland school’ is nice but only if you win.”
Hiddink will start his tenure as coach on Sept. 4 with a friendly against Italy.
The match in Bari will be followed nine days later by the Netherlands’ first Euro 2016 qualifier against the Czech Republic in Prague. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond)