Blind accepts blame for Dutch defeat

Danny Blind is not ready to “throw the towel in” after the Netherlands’ World Cup qualifying 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria, but accepts responsibility for the loss.

Spas Delev netted a first-half brace to claim all three points for his side at Stadion Vasil Levski on Friday night and secure third spot in the six-team group, on nine points, while Holland are in fourth with seven – after five matches.

France top the group on 13 points ahead of Sweden, who have accumulated 10 points.

Blind opted to hand 17-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt his debut in this match, and the teenager was at fault for both goals.

It was a strange decision from Blind to make De Ligt the youngest Holland player since 1931, especially as he has started in only two league games for Ajax – even with injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Jeffrey Bruma and Stefan de Vrij.

De Ligt was ultimately replaced by Wesley Hoedt at half-time but by then the damage had already been done.

The Netherlands missed out on Euro 2016 and are now in some danger of failing to qualify for the World Cup.

After the match, Blind told NOS: "We did a very poor performance, that is obvious. I do not know why we started so poorly.

"We hardly created any chances. I blame myself.

"In hindsight, it was not good for De Ligt to start, but that's hindsight. This was my responsibility.

"Whether I will still lead the team? I need to think about it. I do not throw the towel in here. I'm incredibly disappointed, especially since I had a good feeling about this match.

"It makes sense that I put myself in front of the mirror."