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Victory down to Van Gaal - Van Persie

ESPN staff
June 14, 2014 « Rio: Van Persie like a sideshow under Moyes | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Robin van Persie scored a difficult diving header to make it 1-1 © Getty Images
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Robin van Persie has praised Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal for masterminding their 5-1 victory over world champions Spain.

Van Persie scored twice - the first with a difficult looping header - in Salvador as the Dutch came from behind to kick off their World Cup campaign with an emphatic win.

  • Holland coach Louis van Gaal has revealed he encouraged the wives and girlfriends of his Dutch squad to visit the team hotel in the days before their stunning 5-1 win against Spain on Friday.
  • Many of the touchline tacticians working at this summer's World Cup are keen to ensure their players are not affected by any outside distractions when they are preparing for big games, but the coach who will take over at Manchester United when this summer's competition in Brazil ends for Holland has an alternative view.
  • "My principle is the overall picture, the total person, the player," Van Gaal is quoted in the Daily Mirror. "His brain and his psyche plays a part and the psyche is influenced by his environment.
  • "So on Thursday and Friday I gave permission for the wives to visit the hotel and so the players could be happy, but that doesn't mean this is the reason for our victory.
  • "I told the players I would make sure there would be points in time where the wives and families would visit them."

But Van Persie has credited his manager Van Gaal - who is set to team up with the striker after the World Cup when he takes over at Manchester United - for the win.

"This is because of the coach. He has prepared us great and he predicted how the game would go. It's incredible, because it was exactly as he and the staff predicted for us," Van Persie told Voetbal International.

Van Gaal signed a three-year deal to become the next manager of United in May and revealed his move to Old Trafford has been a welcome distraction from his focus on the Netherlands' World Cup campaign.

Van Gaal cut an animated figure as the goals poured in but was eager to focus minds in his post-match press conference.

"I did not expect that it would go this way, it could have been 6-1 or even more, and we had a very happy feeling," he said.

"This is a nice start, but we have nothing. If we do not win our next game against Australia we have made no progress, but now we are obviously in a good position."

And the Dutch manager had nothing but nice things to say about his striker's remarkable equaliser.

"The pass from Daley Blind for Van Persie was fantastic, the finish was great. There was so much feeling. If you can make a goal in that way it's great ... really fantastic.

"It was great that [Van Persie] came to me. That is a sign of appreciation and that appreciation is mutual."

  • Rio Ferdinand has said that Robin van Persie became a "sideshow" at Manchester United under David Moyes and believes he did not feel loved last season.
  • Click here for full story

Van Gaal has urged his players to keep their emotions in check after their emphatic win against world champions Spain, yet he is convinced their victory is merely a sample of what is team are capable of.

"Yes, we can get better, without a shadow of a doubt," added Van Gaal. "You could see this in the last 20 minutes when we started to play the ball around with confidence.

"Then you could see how good these players can be. This result gives them confidence and I expect them to get better."

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