Women's Euro 2022

Mark Parsons hoping to rely on his experience to overcome Netherlands setbacks

Jamie Spencer
Mark Parsons hopes his experience of managing player absences will help Netherlands at Euro 2022
Mark Parsons hopes his experience of managing player absences will help Netherlands at Euro 2022 / ANP/GettyImages

Netherlands coach Mark Parsons is hoping that his previous experience of managing difficult moments will help his team continue to overcome setbacks at Euro 2022.

The Dutch face France in the last of the quarter-finals on Saturday evening, but have seen Lieke Martens forced to withdraw from the tournament because of injury since the end of the group stage. She joins Sari van Veenendaal, who had to come off 20 minutes into the first game.

Starting centre-back Aniek Nouwen also missed a group game because of injury, while Jackie Groenen missed one with Covid-19 and Vivianne Miedema missed two for the same reason - there still remains uncertainty over how much Miedema will be able to play against France.

"We have been dealt some very difficult cards," Parsons admitted this week.

But what he has in his armoury is the experience to find ways around the problems.

"I’m grateful that I have the staff and that I’ve had experiences over the last 10 or 11 years in professional football like this - we’ve been managing this unbelievably well," he said.

"In moments like this, I can show a quality that unfortunately maybe other people cannot because it’s not common. I’ve dealt with this a couple of times before and the last six months I’ve dealt with it a lot with this team," he explained, planning to draw on his experience of absent players after nearly a decade in the NWSL.

The American league famously doesn’t pause for international tournaments, which means that teams can be left without key players for weeks at a time midway through a season. In previous jobs at Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns, Parsons has had to cope with suddenly being without the likes of Christine Sinclair, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and plenty more.

"I’ll give you an example," he continued. "In the NWSL, the US and Canadian players would leave [for tournaments] and you’re missing your six, seven or eight best players. My record during those moments every year was unbelievably consistently high, where other teams would take a dip.

"What I’m trying to say is, dealing with people being missing and those challenges, I’ve unfortunately had experience because of the structure of the competition.

"Yes, it’s tough, but I’m happy with the staff that we have and the leadership of the players that we’ve been managing these moments very well."

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