Streford End Arising: What are your thoughts on Tuesday’s game?
Bakkalinho: United are of course the sky-high favourites for Tuesday’s game, but I believe we can get a decent result. I have followed United’s games this season since one of my most favourite PSV-player in years plays there now and to be fair they haven’t made the best impression. I expect a surprise and we keep the 3-points at home: 2-1.
Kruspe: We’re finally back in the Champions League. Together with Man United and Porto, we were the only club until 2009 that participated in the tournament every year since it started in the early 90’s. Now we’re back (a ‘little’ weaker than before of course), and opening with a match against such a great club. One of the biggest clubs Europe HAS ever had, but we’re not a hopeless chance as we would be against Barcelona or Bayern Munich. I guess it will be 1-3 for United, but maybe we will surprise everyone.
Martijn: Everything is possible. Manchester United are not playing that well at the moment and PSV’s form has improved in recent weeks. The stadium is sold out, so I hope we can create a phenomenal ambiance and show some good football and make it hard for United. So a draw might be possible, but with some luck we could win.
SEA: What team, formation and style of football can we expect from Phillip Cocu’s PSV?
Bakkalinho: You can expect a 4-3-3 without a ten. Our most attacking midfielder (Maher) is injured at the moment and is a question mark for Tuesday. Many of us wouldn’t mind a game without him, the midfield is more balanced without him. The biggest absence is Willems, our left-back with great crosses who is essential for the goal-production of our striker De Jong. Jetro’s possible replacements are not the best: one (Brenet) is a transformed right-back and the other one (Poulsen) is suffering injuries. I expect PSV to play counter-attacking where we have the players for.
My prediction: Zoet; Poulsen, Moreno, Bruma, Arias; Hendrix, Guardado, Pröpper; Lestienne, De Jong, Narsingh.
Martijn: The formation will be 4-3-3. More specific I’d think we are going to play with a 4-2-1-3 formation.
Defenders: Arias (right) – Moreno-Bruma (center) – Brenet (left)
Midfielders: Hendrix-Guardado (defensive) – Pröpper (attacking)
Attackers: Narsingh (right winger) – De Jong (striker) – Lestienne (left winger)
I think we’ll play to win, but with a defensive mindset. Cocu is a coach with a huge experience in the Champions League as a player. He knows the importance of not losing.
SEA: What are Cocu’s strengths and weaknesses?
Kruspe: Great personality, and one of the best players the Netherlands had in the last 25 years. Every player respects him because of that. Besides that, he knows how to create a strategy for the team. it might look too defensive for some people, but PSV also know how to create many chances. About weaknesses: he is known for using his substitutes too late in the game and for ‘never’ taking risks.
Hoetierick: Strength: has a plan, follows it, even if others think otherwise. Weakness: sometimes he gives players too much credit, so they keep their spot in the team.
SEA: Which players have been standout performers for PSV so far this season?
Kruspe: Guardado (our absolute heart and key player, by far the best player in the Eredivisie), De Jong (amazing striker) and Arias (a really talented wingback whose defending and attacking are of a high quality).
Bakkalinho: We don’t have a lot of stand-out players this season yet, the team still has to find form. The player who makes the team tick is our second captain, Andrés Guardado. He is the playmaker and dominates the game. One to look out for is our left winger Lestienne, he has played well in the matches he has featured, but he has been a little unfortunate with the end product. The last player I want to point out is De Jong, his plan in this match will be putting pressure on the centre-backs (Blind and Smalling?), he’ll probably let Smalling have the ball and hope United play long balls. He’s a very good header too, and will probably win most headers against Blind. Smalling-De Jong is going to be a nice battle.
SEA: What are your thoughts on Group B?
Kruspe: Nice group with two beautiful clubs (United and CSKA), but Wolfsburg is ruining it for us. They are not a really an attractive club for the Champions League, but their results are amazing, and maybe they ‘re even stronger than all the other teams in this group. I guess PSV will finish 3rd, after Wolfsburg and United.
Bakkalinho: Difficult. Wolfsburg was the most difficult opponent we could get from Pot 4, we had hoped for an easier one. It’s very unpredictable, I could see us go to the last 16 but we could also get 4th. We were very happy with United though, which meant the return of Memphis .
SEA: Were you disappointed to see Memphis leave?
Kruspe: Yes. He was the best young player that came from our own academy, and he was really important for us. If we had a terrible match, you always knew that Memphis could score twice out of nowhere. Besides that, he was a really hard worker, and that brought some amazing fighting spirit into the team.
Martijn: No not at all. He was a very good player for PSV and from that point of view it is disappointing he left. But at the beginning of the season we already knew he would leave. He made us champions and deserved a transfer to a good team.
SEA: Who will fill the void left by Memphis’ departure?
PSVEindhoven: Memphis was so good, there’s no one PSV could buy who can fill the void by his departure. Lestienne is playing in Memphis’ position now, he is doing okay, but he isn’t as good as Memphis, of course.
Bakkalinho: For this season that’ll be Lestienne, he came from Al-Arabi on loan. He’s a very eccentric person but has lots of talent. As I said earlier he was unfortunate with finishing but he has been good. For the long term it’ll be our next big talent, Bergwijn, but that’s not really relevant for Tuesday’s game.
SEA: What are your thoughts on Van Gaal’s tenure so far at Manchester United?
Kruspe: I wish him all the best, but I do not know if he’s the right coach for a big club. That he thinks he is the only one that understands football, and because of that, he always has problems with older players. However young players are his specialty. Depay, Januzai and Martial will grow to be absolute world class players because of him.
Hoetierick: He is an excellent coach. But do others give him the time to implement his methods? Until now, it doesn’t look really good, but he has proven to be a guarantee for success.