The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 30 , 2014
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Task is cut out for Dunga, Van Gaal
- In football, the previous season is irrelevant


Brazil’s new coach, Dunga, according to newspapers reports, has publicly criticised Neymar for his dyed hair and choice of hats. The Neymar fans may be shocked by the coach’s words against the team’s star player, but Dunga’s outburst has not come as a surprise to me.

Given the magnitude of what happened to them against Germany in the World Cup semi-final, Brazil need to start from the scratch. Dunga knows he has to be ruthless to get things done before the friendly matches in September. I have a feeling that his sudden criticism of Neymar was part of a broad-based plan.

Football is a sport where the previous season becomes irrelevant very soon. Even the most successful team would have to make fresh plans to kick-start the campaign again. While things are no different for the most successful team in the World Cup, Brazil perhaps need near-total overhauling.

Dunga, as I have seen him as the Brazil coach before, is man who likes to build his side on defensive solidity.

While he might go for a new goalkeeper for the long time sake, one thing is sure that Brazil cannot continue to survive on midfield spoilers and box-to-box players. They definitely need distributors, who are comfortable with the ball.

Brazil, at this point in time, do not have a good striker. That everyone knows. Dunga wanted to convey the message that football is a team game and Neymar should stay focussed and pull up his socks.

For being a former coach myself, I always remain fascinated by the problems of the coaches at the world level. As I said before, I was hugely fascinated by Louis van Gaal’s tactical depth when he guided the Netherlands to the third place in the World Cup.

Now, as the Manchester United coach, the Dutchman is sending clear signals about how he wants to be in control of the situation.

I think, Van Gaal is correct in imposing a personal fitness plan on Luke Shaw after claiming the Manchester United costly signing is not fit enough to meet his demands.

Van Gaal was also not afraid to say he has inherited a Manchester United squad which is very low on confidence. That’s a very candid observation.

A few days back I read some reports saying Van Gaal has managed to bring a change in the United dressing room. The footballers are now far more alert and the coach has total command over the entire squad.

His recent uttering that he trains the players in their brains, not their legs, is a sign of a right thinking man in modern day football. Like Dunga with the Brazilian team, Van Gaal, too, will have to be a hard task master to revive the lost glory.

While I can understand the monumental tasks Dunga and Van Gaal are facing now, I am truly saddened by Alejendro Sabella decision to step down as Argentina coach.

He was unnecessarily put under pressure despite doing a good job in the World Cup. In my opinion, he is a matured and thinking coach and deliberately keeps a low profile. Handling so many stars successfully was not an easy job.

Though not sure who would succeed Sabella, I am sorry to say that there are times when former players talk about bringing changes more because of their hidden agenda than having the welfare of the national team in mind.

Diego Maradona’s demand for bringing back Cesar Menotti is one such ridiculous plea. I had nothing against Menotti — after all he guided Argentina to their first World Cup title in 1978. At the same time, I strongly felt that Menotti, 75, had little to offer to the new generation of footballers. To reappoint Jose Pekerman won’t be a bad decision, but he might not like to leave Colombia at this juncture.