PSV can end dismal Dutch run

PSV coach Phillip Cocu played for the Eindhoven team in the 2006-07 season, the last time a Dutch club made it to the knockout phase of the Champions League. He plans to use that experience in preparing his team for the match against CSKA Moscow.
PSV coach Phillip Cocu played for the Eindhoven team in the 2006-07 season, the last time a Dutch club made it to the knockout phase of the Champions League. He plans to use that experience in preparing his team for the match against CSKA Moscow.PHOTO: REUTERS

EINDHOVEN • PSV Eindhoven will advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League if they finish their Group B campaign with a home success over CSKA Moscow.

More than that, they can end a long spell of disappointing returns for Dutch football.

Victory today will put the 1988 European champions through to the knockout phase for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when Liverpool eliminated them at the quarter-final stage.

No club from the Netherlands have advanced to the knockout phase since.

Manager Phillip Cocu played for PSV that year and said he would be using the experience gained then in his coaching preparations for the Russian side's visit to the Philips Stadium.

"What you learnt as a player, you certainly take into your coaching," he told reporters.

"That experience will help in the planning of how we approach this game, how we deal with the pressure and in figuring out what scenarios we might face."

His first priority will be to ensure his side shrug off some inconsistent domestic form.

PSV needed a last-gasp winner on Saturday to overcome Vitesse Arnhem and are four points off the pace in defending their Dutch league crown.

However, he can point to success in PSV's two previous home matches in the Champions League against Manchester United and Wolfsburg.

Their fate is in their own hands even though they start match day six in third place in the group - two points behind Wolfsburg and one behind United.

A draw could even be enough for them to advance as long as Wolfsburg beat United.

Defeat, however, could see PSV finish last in the group - depriving them of further European competition this season.

CSKA Moscow's Champions League hopes are over but if they win, they will qualify for the Europa League.

CSKA, though, have been stuck in a rut recently.

They have suffered three defeats in their last four domestic games, with their last win coming at the end of October.

"Our run of poor form is continuing, I would say we are in a crisis," CSKA coach Leonid Slutskiy admitted.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2015, with the headline 'PSV can end dismal Dutch run'. Print Edition | Subscribe