LILLE: Marc Wilmots will let the dust settle after Belgium’s quarter-final upset at Euro 2016 before deciding whether he will stay on to lead the Red Devils into the World Cup qualifiers in the autumn writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Belgian coach blamed the 3-1 defeat by Wales in the quarter-final in Lille on injuries, inexperience and an inexplicable complacency. He was not in the mood, afterwards, to accept any blame himself.
Reviewing the match and the sharp first-half change of fortune, Wilmots said: “We had a good start because for the first 25 minutes we played an excellent match, took the lead and dominated Wales but then, out of nowhere, we dropped back 15 yards.
“I told them to push out, I was waving my arms down there, and I can’t explain what happened. There was a breadown in communications.”
Wilmots was upset at the loss through injury of experienced defenders Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen. Deputies Jason Denayer and Jordan Lukaku had nights to forget.
He said: “I’m not a magician. You can’t replace experience. I had a defence with an average age of 23. It’s too young. They need to be a well-oiled machine but we had to replace 50pc of our back line so I can understand conceding a goal from a set piece, something we havent done for 30 matches.
“Then maybe there was also an element of fear because they are young players.”
Wilmots could not escape an awareness that much more had been expected of Belgium, especially after they found themselves in what was perceived as the weaker side of the draw.
He said: “We were listed among teams who could have gone all the way and when you go out after having wanted to go further it leaves the players with a bad taste left in their mouths.
“But we just made too many mistakes against a very good Wales side. They know how to play football so well done to them.
“As for me, I shall decide after the European Championship is all over. I won’t make a decision straight after the game when everything is still raw. I’m going to think about it.”
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