Louis van Gaal praised the Netherlands for “completely outplaying” Montenegro and hopes his side’s 4-0 win will fill them with confidence ahead of their crucial clash with Turkey.
After being held 1-1 by Norway in van Gaal’s first game in his third spell in charge, Oranje turned on the style in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier with Montenegro at Philips Stadion.
Memphis Depay opened the scoring from the penalty spot and added a second just after the hour mark to put the Netherlands on course for a seventh straight home win.
That was the first time in 70 caps Depay had scored the first two goals for his country in a match, the Barcelona forward taking his goals tally to 30 across that period.
Captain Georginio Wijnaldum put the result beyond doubt with the hosts’ third and Cody Gakpo rounded off the scoring 14 minutes from time with his first international goal.
Gakpo curled a sublime effort away from Matija Sarkic into the top-right corner, making him the fifth PSV player to score for the Netherlands in Eindhoven this century.
Montenegro wasted a number of chances throughout the contest, yet Van Gaal is pleased with the improvements made by his side in his short time in charge since replacing Frank de Boer.
“We started very badly, but in the end we were more careful than against Norway,” he told NOS.
“In Norway we started well, but we were not very good throughout the game. Today, the 70 minutes after the opening phase were good.
“We had to win today. If we didn’t we would have missed our target. I think that brought some pressure with it.
“We have completely outplayed Montenegro. We have had little time and still have to get to know each other better.
“But if you can beat such a defensive team 4-0, it gives a boost to the next game.”
That next game comes against Group G leaders Turkey in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
The Netherlands lost the reverse fixture 4-2 in March and trail Turkey by a point with five games remaining, while Norway are level on points with Oranje in third.
Buoyed by the dazzling attacking display and result against Montenegro, a side ranked 55 places below the Netherlands, Wijnaldum is already looking ahead to the Turkey match.
“Hopefully we can give Turkey, one of our director competitors, a slap,” he told NOS.
“This was an important performance after our European Championship exit and the Norway game. We were disappointed with the result against Norway.
“It’s difficult to explain why we started a bit slow today. They even got a few opportunities from our mistakes. That shouldn’t happen and against another side it might have been 1-1 or 2-1 to them.”
Depay was the star of the show with his two goals, while also leading the way by creating a game-high six big chances, albeit none of those opportunities leading to an assist.
“It’s always special when I come here [to Eindhoven], and so I’m very happy to have scored twice,” Depay told UEFA’s official website.
“It felt like we had more creativity on the pitch than last time. It also felt like I received the ball more at the right time, so that I could be a threat or face an opponent. That was important.”