Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman has been quoted by The Mirror as saying that Virgil van Dijk is 'too laid back' and criticised the Liverpool defender for giving away a penalty against Manchester City.
Liverpool hosted champions City in the most eagerly-anticipated game of the season so far, with Jurgen Klopp's Reds looking to pick up another win over Pep Guardiola's side.
However, an absorbing affair ended in a 0-0 draw, and there was late drama at Anfield as City squandered an incredible chance to win the game.
Winger Leroy Sane burst into the box only to be fouled by Van Dijk, and Riyad Mahrez stepped up from the spot, only to smash the ball over the crossbar.
Gary Neville was stunned when Van Dijk fouled Sane, as the Dutchman made an uncharacteristically rash challenge on Sane when he was unlikely to win the ball, with the defender no doubt relieved to see Mahrez miss.
Van Dijk has now gone on international duty with the Netherlands, but he hasn't been able to escape the discussion about his foul on Sunday afternoon.
Netherlands boss Koeman – formerly of Everton – has been quoted by The Mirror as saying that he told Van Dijk exaclty what he thought within 30 seconds of the final whistle on Sunday, criticising his decision.
Koeman added that he thinks Van Dijk is too laid back at the back, citing his strength and power as the reason for his relaxed defending at times, before stating that he just wants the 27-year-old to get even better, even having impressed since his big-money move from Southampton in January.
“I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the game against France what I thought,” said Koeman. “I know him so well – and that means I know where all his little faults are. Virgil has to improve. Not a lot. But sometimes he is a little too laid back. That needs to change. There are moments as a defender when you should be no more than three feet away from the striker you are marking. And, particularly in Van Dijk's case, because of the strength and power he has he is too laid back.”
“On Monday, when he arrived in our training camp in Zeist, he could see from the look on my face that I was thinking about the foul he made when Liverpool played Man City on Sunday. The tackle cost his team a penalty and Virgil realised that he had made the wrong decision. It will not affect his chances with me. He is still my main man, but I want him to get better,” he added.
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