Van Gaal dismisses Dutch defensive concerns

Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal has hit back at suggestions his defence is not playing well ahead of friendlies versus Japan and Colombia.

Van Gaal's team have kept clean sheets in six of their past nine games but the Dutch media have claimed in the lead-up to the Netherlands' clash with Japan in Belgium on Saturday that the national team's defence is struggling.

When one journalist suggested this might be unfair at Van Gaal's pre-match press conference on Friday, the 62-year-old coach vehemently agreed.

"I recommend you speak with your media colleagues, because they don't believe that our defenders are performing well," Van Gaal said.

"I however don't believe that, and I think you are right.

"I have tried to convince the Dutch media for weeks but I've failed.

"You would be better to go and tell them and hopefully we can convince our defenders are doing fine."

The Netherlands will take on Japan on Saturday, before hosting Colombia in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Van Gaal has picked a squad with only two players 30 years or older - Rafael van der Vaart and Maarten Stekelenburg - leaving out the likes of Robin van Persie, John Heitinga and Dirk Kuyt.

"The vision for the team has changed and the players who are having to work with my vision for the team are new players to the side," Van Gaal said.

"The players are much younger and are the future of Dutch football. That has to do with the simple fact that this coach thinks that these youngsters are able to work with my vision.

"If the older players convince me that they deserve to play, then I'll keep them in the squad. At the moment there's a good mix between young and old players, the youth have the chance to improve and impress.

"Only time will tell whether we on the right track."