The Oranje coach revealed he had found it difficult to lift his players after their semi-final exit to Argentina, but was pleased with the reaction of his squad on SaturdayNetherlands showed their true quality by beating Brazil 3-0 in Saturday's World Cup third-place play-off, according to coach Louis van Gaal.
The Oranje ran out comfortable winners over the hosts thanks to goals from Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum, in what was Van Gaal's last match in charge before taking up a new role at Manchester United.
And the coach said he was happy with his players in the way they recovered from the semi-final defeat to Argentina.
"This was very difficult for us," Van Gaal told NOS after the game. "All the odds were against us. Brazil had a day more in preparation and we were defeated after penalties.
"We could have been in the final. Our spirit was down after Argentina. I only spoke about the Brazil match in the team talk, not about Argentina. Luckily we showed how good we are again."
Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm came on late in the game for Netherlands, meaning all 23 members of the Dutch squad saw action at Brazil 2014.
"Its wonderful that we used all 23 players," Van Gaal said. "The players wanted Vorm in the starting line-up, but I told them it wasn't possible because I wanted the best XI to start. At 2-0 I had a better feeling about putting him in the team."
Reflecting upon a competition which his side leave unbeaten in regulation time, beating Spain, Australia and Chile, before overcoming Mexico, defeating Costa Rica on penalties and then losing out to Argentina in a shootout, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss was philosophical.
"I dont't think I've made mistakes," he said. "After the match, you could say I had to wait with my substitutes against Argentina, because I couldn't let [Tim] Krul come on for the penalties. But that's always in hindsight."