PSV insight with Mike Verweij, De Telegraaf
Tue 23 October 2018, 13:27|Tottenham Hotspur
As we prepare for a huge match in the Champions League against Dutch Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night, we turn to Mike Verweij, respected sports writer on the largest Dutch national newspaper, De Telegraaf, for his insight in our latest 'Preview from the Press Box'.
Mike: "PSV have an amazing number of goals and perhaps that says something about the Dutch league. They have 36 goals at an average of four per game. Only PSG have more across Europe - and they’ve played a game more. They have a new coach in Mark van Bommel and we are all surprised they are doing so well. They beat Ajax 3-0 and I have to say Ajax always have a lot of difficulties with PSV in Eindhoven, so it wasn’t so much of a surprise. Ajax were without their captain that day - Matthijs de Ligt – he was injured, so they had defensive problems. The gap is five points now."
Mike: "I think PSV will go for the win. PSV are not like Ajax, not 100 per cent on the attack and have a few players who can play well on the counter-attack. PSV lost in Barcelona and lost against Inter but, and I know this sounds strange, they’ve had a really good feeling since the Inter game. They were 1-0 up that day, the Inter goalkeeper should have had a red card in our opinion and if that had happened, they would have had a great chance to win that game. PSV want to make the step of taking third place at least in the group and going into the knockout stage of the Europa League."
Mike: "The best player at this moment is Steven Bergwijn. We have a footballer of the year classification in our newspaper and he’s leading at the moment. He played the last two games for the national team, made his debut against Germany and played as a substitute against Belgium. He’s one of the rising stars of Dutch football. In terms of fees paid, the big star is Hirving Lozano, the Mexican international. He was amazing last season. He’s a player Spurs will have to watch. Another player, Pablo Rosario, came through the Ajax academy, got injured, went to a Second Division club (Almere City) and PSV bought him – he’s now made it to the national team as well and made his debut against Belgium. He’s a defensive midfielder, strong, a good player. PSV have very offensive full-backs, the left-back, Angeliño, is a former Manchester City player who was on loan at NAC Breda and PSV bought him. He played for the Spanish Under-21s in the last international break. He’s also doing well this season."
Mike: "I think defensively, PSV could have a problem. Central defenders Nick Viergever and Daniel Schwaab are really good in the Dutch league but it’s a big challenge for them to play against Harry Kane. That might be one of the keys in the game. I have to say though that they did really well against Inter. We see that as a key area. Van Bommel’s career took him to Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Milan and we can see he has just started as a coach and he hasn’t really had any disappointments. We are wondering what will happen if they lose once or twice in the league. As he says, though, the players have to act the same in all circumstances. The Dutch word is ‘onverstoorbaar’ (translated ‘unperturbed’). That is what he asks of his players. It means they have to be the same if they are playing FC Emmen in the Dutch league or Spurs in the Champions League."
Mike: "I think it will be really close. Of course, Spurs, a Premier League team, is the favourite. That’s always the case for a Premier League team against a Dutch team. I really think the first goal is so important. If PSV can score the first goal, they have the players to sit back and look for the counter. That is their favourite game with Bergwijn, Lozano and Gaston Pereiro, another really good player. They can cause problems. However, if they concede the first goal, PSV will have to chase the game and it will be more difficult for them. My prediction... it would be easy for me just to say 1-1, so let’s go for 2-2!"