The central Americans inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Dutch in their new boss’ first game in charge, but he said his focus is on the future
Frank De Boer was in defiant mood after suffering a 1-0 loss to Mexico in his first match in charge of the Netherlands, reminding his critics that he rested key players ahead of his side’s forthcoming Nations League fixtures.
Raul Jimenez scored a second-half penalty to settle the friendly at Johan Cruijff Arena on Wednesday, which saw De Boer go head-to-head with Mexico boss Gerardo Martino, who he succeeded as head coach of MLS outfit Atlanta United.
De Boer left Atlanta in July following a poor run of form and his appointment as Ronald Koeman’s successor as coach of the Netherlands raised concerns among supporters unimpressed by his record at club level in recent years.
Inter sacked De Boer after he had been in charge for just 85 days in 2016, and the former Netherlands defender lasted just seven games as Crystal Palace boss in the Premier League the following year.
In his international coaching bow, he handed debuts to Owen Wijndal and Teun Koopmeiners while resting the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Daley Blind ahead of Sunday’s clash with Bosnia-Herzegovina and a trip to Italy three days later.
“Of course I have a bad feeling,” De Boer told reporters after the game. “I always want to win, but we have made certain choices, which I think are logical. We did not let some guys play. We have two more matches soon.
“Moreover, I do not believe that I am the first national coach to lose on his debut.”
— Gini Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) October 7, 2020
“The result is unpleasant,” he added. “But it was a practice match. You could give the excuse that not all the best guys played. We know that someone like Frenkie de Jong is very important, and he was missing. But let’s not forget that Teun Koopmeiners played a very good game in the middle.”
De Boer, who played for his country as a defender more than 100 times, offered words of support to 20-year-old Wijndal, who made a glaring error in the first half that almost cost the Netherlands.
“He started a bit rough, that’s possible,” said De Boer. “But I thought it was very good how he fought back.”
Opposite number Martino reflected on Mexico’s 18th victory in their last 19 matches, claiming the midweek win one was well deserved.
“We played a good game,” he said. “We had enough control of the game and we worked very well together.
“It seems to me that the result is fair. At times we pressed well and had the ball. If you work well, you impose your game. Today we were a very solid team.”