Netherlands manager Danny Blind has confirmed that Dutch stars Robin van Persie and Memphis Depay had a training ground disagreement ahead of their 2-1 win against Kazakhstan. The 2014 World Cup semi-finalists face the prospect of not qualifying for the European Championships to be held in France next year even if they win their final qualifying game against Czech Republic at the Amsterdam Arena tonight (13 October).
The pressure is piling on both manager and team after a poor qualifying campaign, which has seen Netherlands part ways with Guus Hiddink midway through the qualifying process and Blind taking over from the former Russia manager. They have to win their game against the Czechs – who have already qualified automatically alongside Iceland from group A – and hope that Turkey lose to group leaders Iceland.
The 54-year-old manager, who is the father of United star Daley Blind, admitted to the altercation between the current and former Red Devils players, but indicated that it was a normal occurrence on the training ground. Depay has also reportedly been warned by United's assistant manager Ryan Giggs over his lifestyle off the pitch.
"It was a discussion during training about a ball that should have been given over. Things like that happen often. There are sometimes situations in training where players think differently. That's what happened and then it was over," Blind said, as quoted in the Manchester Evening News.
This altercation between the two players could have an impact on the manager's team selection for their final Euro 2016 qualifier. Van Persie is likely to start on the bench, after only coming on in the 87th minute during the Oranje's win over Kazakhstan, unless the manager starts with two strikers in the must-win game. If the Dutch fail to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France next year, it will be the first major tournament they have missed since the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.