Virgil van Dijk says Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman was “right to be critical” of his concession of a late penalty in Liverpool’s goalless draw with Manchester City last weekend.
Riyad Mahrez missed an 86th-minute spot-kick after Leroy Sane was brought down by Van Dijk in the box at Anfield, with Koeman subsequently describing his captain as “sometimes a little too laid back” and insisting the former Southampton defender “has to improve”.
Van Dijk revealed on Friday that he had discussed the incident directly with Koeman, whom he also worked under at St Mary’s Stadium, and defended his comments.
“He’s not strict. He’s well within his right [to say that],” said Van Dijk. “He has every right to be critical. He wants to make us better.
“We talked about the penalty kick against City when I arrived in Zeist on Monday.”
The Netherlands squad are in Zeist ahead of their Nations League clash with Germany in Amsterdam on Saturday and, after being edged 2-1 by world champions France in Paris in their opener, Koeman is hopeful of taking three points this weekend.
“I expect that we will reach the level of the France game and that we will continue to perform,” he commented. “If that works, I think we’re going to win.
“We have to put pressure on at the right moments. It is very important [that my players believe they can win].
“The feeling that you can achieve something and that you actually get it done… I have a very good feeling about that.”