At first he was still positive, but in the end Roberto Martinez is unusually strict for the Red Devils: "This is a wake-up call"

READ ALSO. Martinez and co with headaches to the World Cup: Red Devils go down in a friendly match against Egypt (2-1)

“This was not the result or the performance we wanted, but we may have needed it”, it initially sounded positive. Moments later, however, we got a Roberto Martinez that we haven’t heard much about. Tough on his players. His intention is clear: the Red Devils must be shaken up. Because of course it can’t be that way against Canada.

READ ALSO. REACTIONS. National coach Roberto Martinez and Dries Mertens put the defeat of the Red Devils into perspective: “We needed this”

“Maybe it had something to do with Batshuayi lying on the ground injured early in the game,” said Martinez. “Suddenly the players thought what could happen and that they could miss the World Cup injured. But it shouldn’t. We did not play a World Cup match, but a friends match. That’s not allowed. Egypt overdeservedly won. Of course that is not possible with the World Cup just around the corner. The mindset has to change. In that sense, this match has been good. With that we immediately realize what it is about. We didn’t come close to an achievement that should be delivered at the World Cup. You can never win a game that way.”

The national coach did not want to hear excuses such as a bad pitch or playing in such humidity for the first time. It wasn’t that hot either.

“No, it’s not about heat or anything. Nor about a lack of confidence or form. It was the mindset that wasn’t right. We have five days left to change that. Rest assured this needs to change. Otherwise we won’t make it. We’ve been together for six years now. I know the players well. The rudder must turn. I saw Canada against Japan. They played to win. We didn’t. Good news? Meunier and Vertonghen could play, that’s good.”

Martinez also had a few decisions to make before the first match at the World Cup. The duel against Egypt will not have been decisive in his judgment. But he might look a bit clearer now.


What about Eden Hazard? “No special match”

The national coach had promised Eden Hazard 60 minutes. It became ten more. Not because Hazard played so well, but he didn’t disappoint either. It seems that Roberto Martinez, even if Leandro Trossard is fit again, will choose Hazard in the base against Canada.

Martinez: “That’s the good news. He didn’t play a special match but needed those minutes. He played at the team level. He will continue to grow, I am sure. But it is not fair to judge one player if the whole team is not up to standard. ”


Debast or Dendoncker next to Alderweireld? “Debast fits the profile”

Martinez still sees Leander Dendoncker mainly as a midfielder. Although the Aston Villa player did very well as a right central defender in the Nations League games in June, the national coach clearly prefers 19-year-old Zeno Debast. So he was at the kick-off against Egypt and played inconsistently. Good at defending – the 1-0 was not his fault but De Bruyne’s – but sometimes positionally lacking in pure defence. Dendoncker was not allowed to come in.

Martinez: “Dendoncker is also eligible for that position. There is no specific reason why I didn’t choose Dendoncker. I chose Debast because he has the profile to play in that position.”


Onana or Tielemans next to Witsel? “Vanaken deserved this opportunity”

Amadou Onana was a bright spot in the 1-0 international match against the Dutch in September. But he didn’t get another chance from Martinez. In the first half Vanaken stood next to Witsel in midfield, after the break it was Tielemans. Vanaken was not noticed, Tielemans was more emphatically present.

Martinez: “Onana did well in the Netherlands, but Vanaken was a bit unhappy in his last game for the Red Devils (substitution in the Netherlands, editor’s note). We know what he can bring but, as said, in a team that is not running it is difficult to judge individual performance. I’m not going to do that either.”


How did Batshuayi and Openda do? “Openda well adapted”

Romelu Lukaku will not play against Canada yet. Then the dead-painted substitute Michy Batshuayi, who, measured by the number of minutes played, even scores more regularly than Lukaku. But especially as a substitute, he scores quickly. Now he hit the post early in the game, but after that it was over. Loïs Openda came on in the second half and was much more dangerous. He crowned his energetic attack with a goal, the 2-1.

Martinez: “Batsuayi and Openda each got their chance. Openda came late to this selection. He did well.”

READ ALSO. OUR JUDGMENT. Substitute is bright spot in failed World Cup test by Red Devils, Arthur Theate also shows himself

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