Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has challenged Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk to improve and stop making costly mistakes during matches.

Van Dijk conceded a late penalty during Sunday's clash Manchester City in the Premier League, but will have been relieved to see Riyad Mahrez send the penalty over the bar. He also made an error during the Netherlands' 2-1 defeat to France in September, allowing Olivier Giroud to score the decisive goal in the match.


Speaking ahead of his side's clash with Germany on Saturday, Koeman criticised van Dijk during his press conference. He is quoted by The Daily Mirror as saying: "I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the game against France what I thought.

“I know him so well – and that means I know where all his little faults are. Virgil has to improve. Not a lot. But sometimes he is a little too laid back. That needs to change.

“There are moments as a defender when you should be no more than three feet away from the striker you are marking. And, particularly in Van Dijk’s case, because of the strength and power he has he is too laid back.


“On Monday, when he arrived in our training camp in Zeist, he could see from the look on my face that I was thinking about the foul he made when Liverpool played Man City on Sunday. The tackle cost his team a penalty and Virgil realised that he had made the wrong decision.

“It will not affect his chances with me. He is still my main man, but I want him to get better.”


Koeman is the man who initially brought van Dijk to the Premier League in 2015. As manager of Southampton, Koeman paid Celtic around £14m to bring the towering Dutchman to England. 

After guiding the Saints to a sixth-placed finish in the league, Koeman left to join Everton, but van Dijk remained and developed into one of the world's finest defenders, eventually joining Liverpool for around £70m.