‘I expect very different Ajax’
Sunday’s big 3-0 win in the premier league has obviously given PSV confidence. Still, the team from Eindhoven does not feel like favorites for the new confrontation with Ajax in the cup final, coach Ruud van Nistelrooij and captain Luuk de Jong said in chorus.
“Whether we are favorites? I leave that up to you,” Van Nistelrooij told reporters at the press conference. “We are only preparing as optimally as possible. That’s what it’s all about for us.”
Striker De Jong also does not see his team as favorites Sunday at De Kuip. “That’s very hard to say in games like this. We focus on what we can do.”
Ajax will be taunted after last Sunday’s harsh defeat, predicts the PSV duo. “I expect a very different Ajax,” De Jong said. “I think they want to react after Sunday.”
“Because of that, it will be a very different match now. I want to see from our team that we play with the same energy again. Then you don’t even have to play good soccer, but you have a great chance to win.”
The drive with which PSV played Sunday at the Philips Stadium was striking. De Jong, Patrick van Aanholt and Jordan Teze cheered the crowd after winning duels. “It was just very much alive within the selection that we wanted to play a top game,” De Jong said about that. “We wanted to get the crowd on board and show that there was nothing to be gained from us.”
Drommel also saves final
As usual, Van Nistelrooij wanted to say little about the line-up, although the coach confirmed that ‘cup goalkeeper’ Joël Drommel may also play in the final. Ismael Saibari, a substitute last Sunday, is not fully fit.
“The same eleven as Sunday is an option, but we are also looking at the opponent,” Van Nistelrooij alluded to the suspension of Ajax midfielder Kenneth Taylor. Edson Álvarez, on the other hand, returns after a suspension.
“After Sunday’s game, the players started a new week with a lot of confidence, energy and rest. You can easily build on that towards the final.”
In the premier league, PSV is still battling Ajax for second place and a spot in the preliminary round of the Champions League. Van Nistelrooij did not want to say he considers that more or less important than the cup final.
“But the cup is a main prize, second place is not. In soccer it’s about winning prizes, that’s the most beautiful thing there is.”