PSV opened up a ten-point lead at the top of the Eredivisie with a 3-0 victory at home to FC Utrecht last weekend. Ajax dropped points in a 3-2 defeat at Vitesse and many football fans think it will only be a matter of time before PSV clinch the title. Phillip Cocu begged to differ when he addressed the media at his weekly press briefing at De Herdgang training facilities on Friday afternoon. “Winning the Eredivisie title is not on our minds yet”, he said, ahead of Saturday’s visit to Willem II in Tilburg.
“Approach the game as we always do”
Cocu insisted that a win is all PSV have on their minds. “We will approach the game at Willem II as we do every game. We will not think of winning the Eredivisie title until nearer the end of the season. We take each game as it comes and must never be complacent. I just repeat what I’ve said all season: ‘We can’t afford to play at 80 or 90 % of our potential. We simply lack the quality for that and the players appreciate that. We challenge the players to be at their best for each and every one of the final eight games this campaign. We were never negative when things did not go our way but we should not be over-optimistic right now, either.”
Cocu singled out Daniel Schwaab, who is one of the players who deserves to be called a genuine team player. Steven Bergwijn referred to the German defender earlier this week as a player who is ‘like a father to his younger team-mates’ Cocu: “I fully agree with what Steven Bergwijn has said. Daniel’s willingness to be a team player has been a large component of PSV’s successes this season. Even when he did not play, he was always interested in his team-mates, coached them and helped then whenever possible.”
Turbulent week in Tilburg
It has been a turbulent week in Tilburg as Erwin van de Looi decided to step down immediately as head coach of Willem II. The board wanted him to continue as head coach but the fans demanded the coach leave. Cocu: “You never know what the impact of a managerial change is on a team performance. Willem II may have a new game plan on Saturday, but I expect us to dominate the game.” PSV will be without Hirving Lozano, who sits out the third match of a three-game ban, and Jorrit Hendrix, who serves a one-match suspension after collecting his fifth booking of the campaign last week. Cocu expects the Argentinian striker Maximiliano Romero to make his PSV debut after the international break in March.