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Paletta leaves Milan for Jiangsu Suning


Assessing the state of Man United, Chelsea

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NPFL Matchday 10: Expect change at the top

By ESPN Staff

Coach remains upbeat over unsettled Ruud

Marco van Basten retains total confidence in Ruud van Nistelrooy to fire Holland towards World Cup glory this summer.

The Manchester United striker's club career may be in limbo following his dramatic fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson but he remains a major figure within the Dutch camp.

A proven scorer at the highest level, in both the red of United and the orange of his country, Van Nistelrooy knows the pressure is on him to deliver in Germany if Holland are to finally fulfil their massive potential in a World Cup.

For all his current problems at Old Trafford, Van Basten has already placed huge faith in the 29-year-old's talents by opting to let Ajax sensation Klaas Jan Huntelaar continue his development in the European Under-21 Championships rather than naming him in his 23-man senior squad.

And Van Basten, the man to whom Van Nistelrooy has so often been compared, insists he has no reason to believe his star forward will let him down over the coming weeks.

'I do not have any problems with Ruud,' he said.

'I am totally confident in his ability. Ruud is a person who likes to work hard and he likes to win. He is a very good and very important part of our team.'

Van Nistelrooy has vowed not to get distracted by the inevitable speculation over his future, insisting he will not begin considering his options until the World Cup is over.

That statement probably came as welcome news to Van Basten too, particularly given the history of internal problems undermining Dutch chances of success at major competitions.

All too often in recent times, Holland have been their own worst enemies, with petty in-house disputes affecting their performances on the field.

It is a situation Van Basten acknowledges has to change.

The legendary forward has taken some decisive action of his own by jettisoning the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert and Edgar Davids from his squad.

And those who remain have been left in no doubt over their responsibility to the collective cause.

'We must think the same way and we must work the same way,' asserted Van Basten.

'It is a factor I have made absolutely clear to everyone in this squad.

'I do feel the discipline within the squad is fine and I am confident the team is together. It needs to be because being together as a unit for the whole tournament is very important.'

Van Basten has just under three weeks - and three friendly games - to fine-tune his side ahead of their opening Group C tussle with Serbia and Montenegro in Leipzig on June 11.

After tackling Cameroon in Rotterdam on Saturday, Holland will then face fellow qualifiers Mexico and Australia, by which time their coach expects his side to have made the improvement required to get their campaign off to a positive start.

'We have two and a half weeks until the Serbia match where we can work and make things clear in our own minds,' he said.

'I am very confident we are making progress with the team but we need to do that because the Serbian team is a very good one.

'The most important thing at this stage is that most of the players have had a week off and some of them have had even more.

'They are all in a good shape mentally and physically and they look eager to do well.'