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Van Gaal: ‘I really loved watching an Italian team play’

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Italy defeated the Netherlands in the Nations League with Louis van Gaal thoroughly enjoying the Azzurri’s display. 

A sole Marco Barella strike separated the Oranje from the Azzurri. Roberto Mancini would have liked his side to score more but would have been content with the win. 

Italy are unbeaten in 13 fixtures under the former Inter Milan and Manchester City boss. He has reformed the outlook of the Italian side, gaining plaudits from fans and neutrals alike. 

One man who Mancini has turned over is Dutch legend, Louis van Gaal. The former Barcelona and Manchester United manager was in awe of the Azzurri and did not hide his excitement at watching Italy play. 

“For the first time, I really loved watching an Italian team play, because in the past Italian football was known primarily for being defensive,” Football Italia quoted Van Gaal at an awards ceremony in Florence.

“I had an opportunity to work in Italy towards the start of my career, before I went to Barcelona. It was Milan who wanted me.”

Van Gaal also sang praises for young Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt. The Ajax academy graduate impressed in Juventus ranks, and the legendary tactician has high hopes from him. 

“He’s very talented, but also very young. He can become better than Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, but he needs time.”

De Ligt is currently out of action. The youngster got his shoulder operated on and will be out of action for a couple of months.