‘It really feels like revenge’
‘Cup goalkeeper’ Joël Drommel of PSV experienced the best day in his still young career on Sunday. The 26-year-old goalkeeper stopped Edson Álvarez’s penalty in the penalty shootout. Then Fábio Silva fired in the decisive penalty for PSV.
As the revelry at PSV erupted in full force after a very nasty final, coach Ruud van Nistelrooij walked straight up to the goalkeeper. “I love the story of Dommel,” Van Nistelrooij said at the press conference at De Kuip.
Last season, Drommel started as PSV’s first goalkeeper, but after a series of mistakes, he lost his spot to Yvon Mvogo. With Walter Benitez, PSV brought in a new goalkeeper last summer. Drommel became second goalkeeper, but was allowed to play all cup matches, including the final.
“I spoke very well with Joël and we went into a project,” Van Nistelrooij told me. “He is a very talented goalkeeper. But you shouldn’t underestimate what’s coming at you when you play a little less.”
“From the public, all kinds of things are shouted at you, but also on social media and in the press. You are written off, you are not good enough, you are too weak. That does a lot to a player.”
That Drommel stepped out of the shadows at De Kuip and took a hero’s role did a lot for Van Nistelrooij. “That’s what it’s all about as a trainer, isn’t it? That you help young players progress. After everything he went through last season, he is now helping us grab the cup. He is completely over it.”
Ahead of the cup final, PSV trained extensively on penalty kicks. Unlike Ajax, which did nothing at all. “Whether that makes the difference today? I don’t know if it’s that simple,” Van Nistelrooij said. “Joël still has to do it.”
Waiting good choice
Drommel knew from the Ajacans where they shot their penalties in the past. “Tadic and Timber already shot it through the middle, I thought: now let me wait instead of choosing an angle,” Drommel said. “Álvarez took a straight approach, then it’s hard to shoot it into the corner anyway. I kept waiting and that was a good choice.”
The Mexican’s roll was an easy prey for Drommel. Earlier, Brian Brobbey (high over) and Jurriën Timber (crossbar) had missed for Ajax, giving PSV the cup.
Van Nistelrooij said, the many criticisms last season did not leave Drommel cold. “You try not to read too much, but of course you get a lot through via,” the goalkeeper told me.
Last season, Drommel kept the entire cup tournament, except for the final. “It really feels like revenge that I am now a hero in the penalty series. I’ve always stayed focused on my work. And on penalties.”