The Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal is adamant he will not continue with the national side after his contract expires after the World Cup in Brazil in the summer. He has hinted that he wants to manage in the Premier League and that he would be open to a fresh approach from Tottenham.
Following the Euro 2016 Qualification draw, he was asked about his future post-Brazil, with Guus Hiddink set to take up the reins with Holland once again and he responded:
“I will definitely not be in charge for the European [Championship qualifying] campaign,” he told reporters after the Euro 2016 qualifying draw.
“I don’t know where I will go next, normally I go with my pension, go to live in Portugal, but maybe there will come a new challenge.
“I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League. That’s a challenge. Maybe Tottenham are coming, but first we have to go to Brazil.”
Van Gaal has previously admitted he was approached by Spurs following Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking but refused to rule out a future move to White Hart Lane.
“I have refused [the Tottenham job] but maybe there will come another chance. That is the difficulty with coaching. When you are free, then maybe there are no vacancies,” he said.
“I want to work in the Premier League because that is the league I have not worked in yet.
“I want to coach here in the Premier League because I think Spain, Germany and England are the strongest competitions. That is an ambition and who knows.”
However, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, who has also been linked with a summer switch to Tottenham, has rubbished the speculation. Prandelli has been in charge of the Azzurri since 2010 and has revealed to Italian TV station Rai that he is actually set for talks over a new deal.
“Me to Tottenham in the next season? This is fantasy football.”
“It’s too soon to talk about my future, after the friendly with Spain in March we will have a meeting with (the FIGC president, Giancarlo) Abete and the federal leaders.”
Spurs had also sounded out Frank de Boer, currently in charge of Ajax, prior to elevating Sherwood formally from his position as youth coordinator at Tottenham, a role to which he has indicated he would not be prepared to return.
Sherwood was understandably downbeat after an unexpected defeat left them still fifth in the Premier League, but now six points behind Liverpool, and with a vastly inferior goal difference.
“It’s a big gap, a real blow to us,” he acknowledged. “It’s the first major setback I’ve had and we need to bounce back and show what we are made of.”
When he was asked if his players were still feeling the effects of the midweek trip to the Ukraine to play Dnipro in the Europa League, he said:
“We were stronger in the second period, so we can’t use Thursday as an excuse.”
“In the second half we looked by far the better side. But we’ve started slowly in quite a lot of games and it was sluggish, sluggish. It was a nothing game in the first half, we took a real blow early in the second, and I think we started playing from there and created a few chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t take them.
“We have to bounce back, we have two games now, we have the second leg [against Dnipro] on Thursday and then Cardiff at home next week. We need characters in the dressing room to do that.”
Sherwood saw the misfiring Roberto Soldado, for whom Spurs paid £26m and who has scored just once from open play in the Premier League, miss Spurs’ best chance when he blazed over the bar from close range shortly after coming on as a second-half substitute. But he refused to criticize the Spaniard.
“We’re waiting for him to take one [of his opportunities] and then hopefully the confidence will start flooding back.”
“It’s all about scoring on the big stage and we know he can do that. We’ve seen him do it over the years, and hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later when he starts putting it in the net.”