Ruud van Nistelrooy, coach: He was influenced by Bielsa and led PSV Eindhoven’s hopes in the Champions League

Manchester United fans at Brentford on Saturday didn’t have much to sing about but that didn’t stop them. Among the chants were in honor of former striker Rod Fan Nistelrooy – And what can United do with a striker like the Dutchman in his prime now?

We know a lot about Van Nistelrooy, the world-class striker who played for Den Bosch, Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven and United – scoring an astonishing 150 goals in just 219 games between 2001-2006 – Real Madrid, Hamburg and Malaga.

But what about Van Nistelrooy, the technical director?

Tonight, he takes his side in Eindhoven to Ibrox for a Champions League qualifier playoff match. PSV Eindhoven defeated Monaco to set up a match against Rangers, led by his close friend Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who said, before the match, how he and Van Nistelrooy were not expected to become coaches.

They have played 48 matches together for the Dutch national team but only once will you see his team reach the lucrative group stage. Van Bronckhorst surpassed the milestone in leading Rangers to the May European League final while Van Nistelrooy, 46, has just five games left in his senior managerial career.

It was a positive start, beating Ajax at league- and cup-winners Johan Cruyff-schild last season, picking up two league-opening wins and scoring nine goals in the process while defeating Monaco in the final round of Champions League qualifying – although Monaco was. The best team with a draw, which PSV Eindhoven won 4-3 on aggregate thanks to an extra-time goal by Luc de Jong.

Van Nistelrooy may be new to high-profile football management but he is in his ninth season of coaching. Slowly, carefully and methodically, he would step up and take advice from people he trusted and respected, such as Guus Hiddink, whom he helped as manager of the Netherlands between 2014 and 2016.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy won four of his first five matches as head coach of PSV Eindhoven (Photo: Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Another major influence was for Foppe de Haan, who took charge of Heerenveen in three terms, most notably between 1992 and 2004 when Van Nistelrooy played for his team between first team Den Bosch and third PSV Eindhoven. Van Nistelrooy also studied Marcelo Bielsa, reading books and articles about the Argentine coach. He feels that if there is a coach in control of everything, it is Bielsa.

The man from Oss, just 30 kilometers from Eindhoven, has also played under great coaches who have made their mark. Asked why United were so successful, Van Nistelrooy said: “It stems from the manager’s authority. His will to win is so strong that it affects every aspect of the club.” Sir Alex Ferguson compared it to Fabio Capello, saying: “They both know what it means to win so many titles. They make champions.”

But what does van Nistelrooy look like as a manager?

“People know Van Nistelrooy as a selfish striker, but he told us that being a manager suits his character much more,” explains Jos Peters, who covers Eindhoven for Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. ‘He told us, when I was a striker, I wasn’t the person I really am. I was very selfish and just focused on making goals. As a coach I have to work together and see the big picture’.

“He’s a laid-back, calm, laid-back guy, but you didn’t see that when he was a striker. Nobody thought he was that kind of guy. They knew him as someone who would go crazy if he missed an opportunity or didn’t get the ball from his teammates.”

This would help.

“We don’t have a history in the Netherlands of many strikers who became great coaches,” Peters adds. “Rinus Michaels did and he was European champion with the Dutch national team in 1988. Marco van Basten decided to resign as coach because he didn’t suit his personality type. So Ruud is interesting. He talks very well about the game and his vision. People are following him now that he is in charge of Big club in Holland.

So what is the vision of the former Manchester United man?

“You can see that with Van Nistelrooy’s team it’s about control,” Peters explains. “If his team had to go back 20 meters to defend, it wouldn’t be a problem for him. That’s a big difference with the previous coach of PSV Eindhoven. Switching from (Roger) Schmidt, they went from complete chaos (Schmidt preferred the 4-2-2-2 system) to control. Schmidt was a coach who wanted to press very hard and play with a lot of tension, but it didn’t work out well. Van Nistelrooy wanted to focus on possession and control of the ball.”

Van Nistelrooy loves to share his ward in a one-on-one confrontation. When he was at Old Trafford, he spotted the teenage Cristiano Ronaldo and said: “Sometimes he does too much and runs from the baseline to the baseline. With his strength, speed and ability to beat the man, he is always a threat. His end is good and he is still very young, so he will improve.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy congratulates Luke de Jong after PSV Eindhoven’s victory over Monaco in the Champions League qualifiers (Photo: Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Now, he has talented players to work with like Cody Gakpo and Ibrahim Sancar. Captain de Jong, who was mocked when he signed for Barcelona, ​​but praised when he left in May after scoring several goals from the bench, is another attacking player.

Van Nistelrooy also worked with many younger PSV players of his time. He’s been with the club since 2015, the year he saw 17-year-old star Marcus Rashford with United’s Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League when he was the standout player in the 3-0 win over PSV Eindhoven. Van Nistelrooy stayed in the background – he also had no idea Rashford was watching videos of him scoring in the six-yard box to help him improve.

Van Nistelrooy takes his time. He has risen some staff through the ranks with him while he also had former PS boss Fred Rutten as one of his lieutenants. There is more experience in Andre Ooijer, who spent 10 seasons as a PSV player and played alongside Van Nistelrooy for club and country. He also spent three seasons at Blackburn in the Premier League.

Van Nistelrooy was careful as he built his career, Peters notes.

“He started with PSV Eindhoven and went to another team every year, U-12 and U14. Last season, he coached Young PSV, PSV Eindhoven’s second team in the Netherlands’ second division.” They finished 12th, which was seen as trustworthy given his team’s average age is still in their teens.

“The important thing for Van Nistelrooy is that his teams attack and control the ball,” tactical analyst Mark Lamberts said of Van Nistelrooy’s side last season. “For Van Nistelrooy, it is critical that you control possession and make sure you always have an overburden in the face of a pressing opposition. So you play against a 4-2-3 or 4-3-3; they are more likely to put pressure on midfield defenses with their striker and 10 .”

In December 2021, Van Nistelrooy’s stock was rising and he was asked if he wanted to become PSV Eindhoven’s coach when Schmidt decided to walk away at the end of the season (he is now an official at Benfica) when they finished second, just two points behind Ajax who beat them in the Cup final. Holland.

Eindhoven had previously been giving their former players top duties, with Ronald Koeman, Philip Coco, Jan Waters, Hiddink, Ernst Faber and Marc van Bommel all taking charge this century.

“He told us he didn’t feel ready,” Peters explains. “He wanted to stay for another year with the B team or maybe go to another, smaller club like Heerenveen, his former club. But I think he felt some regret when he started seeing other names associated with the job in the Dutch media and wondered if he had said no to the only chance. to take up the job.

In February, PSV asked Van Nistelrooy directly if he wanted to become head coach. He said no and reiterated that he wanted to spend another year with the reserve team.

“Things changed when the new general manager, Marcel Brandes (formerly with Everton) arrived,” Peters says. “He was convinced that Van Nistelrooy should be the head coach and convinced him to become the head coach.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy (R) won three major titles as a Manchester United player, including the FA Cup in 2004 (Photo: Martin Rickett – PA Images / PA Images via Getty Images)

Van Nistelrooy does some interviews. the athlete Several have asked with him in recent years, including one for this article, to be told “not now” every time. He talks to reporters at press conferences and, according to Peters, communicates well.

“He has a lot of experience in the media field, you can see that he knows how the media works. He is comfortable with the media in different and difficult situations or with difficult questions.”

Reaching the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in four years would be a huge success for PSV Eindhoven.

The €40m (£33.7m, $40.6m) they expect to make in the qualifiers would represent a significant sum in Dutch football. Ajax have been playing football in the Champions League in recent years, and with their relative success, they have earned big money not only from participating in the competition but also from the sale of Frenkie de Jong, Matisse de Ligt and Lisandro Martinez.

Eindhoven talents, such as Gakpo, will stand a better chance of survival, however, Van Nistelrooy has a much better chance of being a successful coach.

(Top Image: Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like