Belgium

Premier League star criticizes Belgium coach Roberto Martinez’s tactics

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne believes that Belgium’s set-up needs work and that they need to find a solution before the World Cup starts.

The 26-year-old midfielder has openly criticised the Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and has spoken out about the team’s tactics. While Belgium did qualify for the 2018 World Cup, winning nine out of their 10 group games with Kevin De Bruyne playing a starring role but they failed to produce the same form against Mexico, playing very defensively.

While the game did end in a 3-3 draw, Mexico had the majority of the possession and according to Kevin De Bruyne, they were tactically much better. In an interview “Mexico were just tactically better. Their system made our five defenders sit deep and we were swimming in midfield – it was five against seven. Look, we still put too much on our talents.

As long as we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties against countries like Mexico. It’s a pity that we have not yet found a solution. Of course we play with a system that is in principle very defensive, but it is filled with many attacking players who want the ball.”

The Belgians boast an incredible attacking force with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Yannick Carrasco, and even 20-year-old Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans, among so many others. But despite that Martinez deployed a more defensive 5-3-2 formation against Mexico and brought in Nacer Chadli as a makeshift wingback.

This has led the Manchester City midfielder to believe that Martinez hasn’t found a way to make the best use of that. De Bruyne further added “Then you have a bit of a problem, like against Mexico. It was a match in which we had very little possession and everyone in a system that doesn’t really fit. We now know that something must be changed against such teams.

“But eventually Martinez decides. I think the trainer has to find a solution so that we can avoid such situations as against Mexico in the future.”

Author’s take:

When a team has brilliant and quality attacking players and equally brilliant midfielders, then maybe the manager should play to their strengths. However, one can also argue that maybe Roberto Martinez was trying out something new against Mexico, a just defensive formation as a plan B for the Belgium’s as the World Cup approaches.

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