Virgil van Dijk was pleased with the way the Netherlands held their nerves to come back from a goal down to beat Northern Ireland 3-1 in the final 10 minutes.
Van Dijk would’ve been frustrated for failing to properly mark Josh Magennis after the substitute out-jumped Matthijs de Ligt to head Northern Ireland into a shock 75th-minute in the Netherlands.
Yet, the UEFA Nations League runners-up were back on level terms just five minutes later through Memphis Depay. After Luuk de Jong poked home an injury-time goal, the Lyon forward added another to complete a 3-1 win for Holland.
Therefore, the Netherlands have moved to the top of Group C level on 12 points with Germany and Northern Ireland in their Euro 2020 qualification campaign. Although the latter has played one more game than either of the other two nations.
“We continued to search patiently,” Van Dijk told NOS.
“Certainly in the second half, we did better with pressure. You try to keep everyone calm because our chances do come.
“You will see it happen. I think the victory is justified. It was a pinch at the end.”
The first-half in Rotterdam was a frustrating affair for the hosts as Northern Ireland successfully closed down the hosts constantly. It meant fans had to endure a rather slow and uneventful 45 minutes.
So, Magennis’ opener naturally raised concern in Van Dijk considering the Netherlands struggled to create scoring opportunities.
“You come back 1-0 [down] and the nerves creep into it, but we have responded well,” continued the Holland captain.
“We have the qualities to never give up, and moreover opponents can often no longer walk. Of course, it wasn’t our best game.”
The Netherlands will now take a trip to Belarus on Sunday for their next Euro 2020 qualifier.