International Frédérique Matla (25) has always been someone who says it all. Sunday afternoon after the disappointment in the Wagener Stadium against Amsterdam (2-0 loss) – Den Bosch’s second loss in a row – is no different. “This was totally unnecessary.”
Three games after the start of the competition, it normally makes little sense to dwell extensively on the position in the ranking. You could call it scoreboard journalism if you place a lot of value on Den Bosch’s ninth place. But it is of course strange what is going on with the 21-time national champion. Marieke Dijkstra’s team has not yet found the magic this early in the season.
“We are not used to starting the competition with three points from three games. That is of course unworthy of Den Bosch’, says Matla. ‘But I don’t think we should be too concerned with the rankings. Above all, we have to look at ourselves. How come we lose 2-0 here?’ sighs the player who herself has not reached her top level in recent matches.
Departure of Welten, Van Geffen and Keetels
It’s about half an hour after the game. In the meantime, most of the anger with the attacker of the Dutch national team has subsided. But at times the frustration about the defeat is in her eyes again. When she is asked whether there is a connection between the poor results of Den Bosch and the departure of Lidewij Welten (Kampong), Margot van Geffen (HGC) and Marloes Keetels (discontinued), this also somewhat rekindles the fire in her.
‘I wouldn’t say there’s a connection between them. Of course our roster would have been wider and stronger if they had still played for us. In that regard, we have sacrificed quality. I think that’s clear. But that doesn’t mean we suddenly have to lose these kinds of matches. We still have enough quality to draw or win here. The same goes for last week’s game against SCHC [3-1 loss] . I think we really need to take matters into our own hands. We just can’t let this happen to us.’
In her analysis of what went wrong on Sunday, Matla roughly touches on two important points. One of them is about the personal mistakes that were made in the back. Throughout the match, the defenders of Den Bosch were briefly covering and they regularly nibbled a ball from the stick of attackers such as Marijn Veen and Felice Albers. But in the final eight minutes of the game, some personal mistakes unnecessarily led to the goals of Fiona Morgenstern and Michelle Fillet, she said.
“You may not always be objective when it comes to your own club, but I think this defeat was really unnecessary. In my view we had control over the game. That’s why I think it’s such a shame that we conceded those two goals at the end. We can only blame ourselves for that. Those goals came way too easily.’
Matla is still at zero goals
The other point Matla makes is about the attack. After three games, Den Bosch has only scored twice. Matla has not scored a single goal this season. She says she agrees with the criticism that she has not yet delivered what is expected of her.
‘People expect me to always score often. That’s okay too. I am also critical of my own playing. We will take a good look at why it doesn’t work for me and why it might not work for the rest. These are also tough matches to play. Except against Amsterdam, we played against SCHC and HGC, you don’t just win with five goals difference. But in the end you have to score once’, says Matla.
‘Perhaps it is an accumulation of several things. Did I have opportunities today that I should have taken? Except for those two penalty corners, really. Last week against SCHC I actually didn’t get a chance. Both then and now, the ball did not often enter the circle. We have to critically investigate how it is possible that I, or the other strikers, have so few opportunities. Are we not free enough, are we in the wrong place, or are the balls not played or seen? If we start having good conversations about this, I’m sure things will work out in the end.’