“We are preparing for this game is the same way as we prepare for any other European meeting,” Van Marwijk reiterated at the pre-match press conference. “So we’ll be heading towards Eindhoven after lunch and we’ll be retiring to seclusion in Brabant. The only thing we’re not doing is training in the opponent’s stadium. We are well acquainted with the Philips stadium by now.”
The two sides have been equally matched in this season’s encounters. A goalless draw in the Kuip just before Christmas was followed by a 1-1 in Eindhoven a month later. Yet despite 210 minutes of stalemate, the ‘experts’ are tipping PSV to go through. Bert van Marwijk agrees to disagree. “I said since the start of the season that I think that PSV have the best quality squad in Holland. That does not make them favourites however. If we perform as well as we can we are certainly their equals. We’ve proven that in the two previous meetings. PSV are currently the form team, clearly. Certainly in the away game at Leeds they showed they can play some very good football. But we are gradually getting our form together too. The eventual winner will be decided by the commitment shown and by the individual class of certain players.”
Tight-lipped as always, Bert van Marwijk gave nothing away about his formation. In Wednesday’s final training session Mauricio Aros and Tomasz took turns to play in green, traditionally reserved for the starting eleven. “I’m saying nothing about the left back position. You can take it as read that I’ve already made my decision. I’ll only say that come what may, Glenn Loovens will take over Patrick Paauwe’s position. For a while Glenn was out of it, mentally and physically, but he’s back to full fitness again. He’ll most likely mark Vennegoor of Hesselink.”
One person who won’t be available in Eindhoven is Ferry de Haan. The central defender got back to training with the group again this week, but hasn’t played in months. Chris Gyan is in the 20-man squad, as are Leonardo and Leonardo Dos Santos. The squad will be reduced to eighteen Thursday.
Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Loovens, Aros (Rzasa); Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Van Persie; Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
Waterreus; Bogelund, Ooijer, Hofland, Bouma (Heintze); Rommedahl, Lucius, Van Bommel, Gakhokidze (Bouma); Kezman, Vennegoor of Hesselink