Feyenoord have a chance to wash away the bitter taste of defeat when they take on PSV Wednesday in the semifinal of the Amstel Cup at De Kuip. Victory will keep Ruud Gullit’s side on course for a trophy in what’s been an up-and-down season. Losing’s not an option this time, admits the coach. ‘Otherwise the season’s over. The most frustrating thing is that we’ve given it all away in such a short space of time. I blame myself most of all, because I’m responsible.’

Gullit held a debriefing with his team twenty-four hours after the defeat to Ajax, in which he addressed the whole group rather than individuals as he usually does. ‘I don’t normally do that due to the difference in culture. In Holland we are used to that, but it is not usual in every country. But I felt that was needed now. I said that the lads shouldn’t experience it as an attack. I tried to elicit a reaction, which is not always that easy. But it was enlightening, because we approach it as team and a discussion was generated.’

The Feyenoord coach says that he does not blame his team for the last seven days. ‘I’m most disappointed in myself. Because despite feeling that things could go wrong before FC Den Bosch and expressing that feeling I wasn’t able to get the team sharp. That is disappointing.’

The logical conclusion is that victory against PSV is paramount. But Gullit was not yet ready to let go of Sunday and concentrate on Wednesday, at least not at the press call. ‘We didn’t have the better of Ajax, but they did not create a huge amount. We gave it away in eight minutes and I wonder how the hell that was possible. I hadn’t seen that lack of concentration for a long time, but it reared its head again against Ajax and Den Bosch. It is painful that it has happened to us twice in five days and that it has cost us.’

Feyenoord take on the Eredivisie leaders and Champions League semi-finalists within the injured Hossam Ghaly, Patrick Lodewijks, Patrick Paauwe, Patrick Mtiliga and Christian Gyan. The Egyptian was rushed to hospital with concussion after completing just seventeen minutes against Ajax and will be an especially big loss against an experienced visiting midfield. ‘That’s where PSV’s strength lies. Ghaly was not in great form, but he is a ball-winner. I’m lacking that now. Fortunately Hofs is available again. The important of tomorrow is clear. We have tried to flush the Ajax game out of our system and to get something positive out of it. That’s not easy, but maybe we will be lucky enough to put it right immediately against PSV.’

Feyenoord – PSV

Wednesday 20 April, 20:45 at De Kuip
Referee: Van Egmond

Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Saidi, Gibbs, Bosschaart; Castelen, Ono, Hofs, Goor; Kalou, Kuyt.
PSV: Gomes; Ooijer, Alex, Bouma, Lee; Van Bommel, Vogel, Cocu; Park, Robert, Farfán.

12/12/2004 Feyenoord – PSV 3-3
21/9/2003 Feyenoord - PSV 1-3
18/5/2003 Feyenoord - PSV 3-1
21/3/2002 Feyenoord - PSV 1-1 (UEFA Cup)
16/12/2001 Feyenoord - PSV 0-0

14/3/2004 PSV - Feyenoord 0-1
17/11/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 1-2
14/4/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 2-0
14/3/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 1-1 (UEFA Cup)
30/1/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 1-1 (Amstel Cup)

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