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Sport

Player welfare comes first says under-fire Dutch coach De Boer

FILE PHOTO: Sports-Soccer - Maidstone United vs Crystal Palace - Pre Season Friendly - Maidstone, Britain - July 15, 2017 Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer applauds fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Netherlands coach Frank de Boer says consideration for his players’ welfare is the priority as he ponders his team selection for Wednesday’s Nations League clash away to Italy, even though he is under fire to get a result.

It is De Boer’s third game since he took over from Ronald Koeman and the Dutch have yet to score under him, placing immediate pressure on the new coach.

“Playing three games in eight days is too much,” De Boer said of the congested schedule that saw his side lose 1-0 at home to Mexico last Wednesday and then play out a 0-0 draw away to Bosnia in the Nations League on Sunday.

“I also have to think about the players. All of them have to go back and perform for their clubs and that’s something I must consider. Therefore, you cannot always prepare for matches in the way you would like to do,” he told a news conference in Bergamo on Tuesday.

Former Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan, Crystal Palace and Atlanta United coach De Boer, 50, has come under immediate pressure following the false start with the Dutch.

“Against Bosnia we didn’t play well but we still had five good chances. We didn’t take them. The previous coach had that luck,” he said referring to Koeman’s positive record.

“We have a very motivated squad that can also criticise each other. Against Bosnia it seemed like we missed aggression, but that’s because we were late in the duels all the time. We have to make sure we get into the duels tomorrow.”

One plus for the Dutch is that Memphis Depay returns after suspension to strengthen the attack.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris

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