With seven games to go, PSV host Heracles Almelo in the Philips Stadion on Sunday afternoon. Head coach Roger Schmidt expects another tough game. “Heracles, coached by a former teacher of mine, are a brave team and opt for an aggressive style of play”, said Schmidt during his weekly press briefing on Friday afternoon.
Several PSV players represented their countries during the international break and Schmidt was relieved they had come through the matches unscathed. “Everybody is fit and some of them have been successful.” After two matches for PSV in which he featured for 45 minutes, Cody Gakpo showed his skills for the Netherlands U21 after a two-month injury. “He came off the bench, put in a fine display and made his mark with two goals against Hungary. I was happy to see him do a good job.” Schmidt was not sure if Netherlands coach Frank de Boer should add Gakpo to his squad for the European Championship. “I leave that to him. Cody may be an option but he faces stern competition for a place and may have a better chance to get valuable game time and experience by playing for the Netherlands U21 side. He certainly has the potential to be a complete player.”
“We had some time to reflect and get fresh energy for the remaining seven games. We play three matches in April and have time to train, create the right tension for these games and find the right way to guide the players. We will now have to focus on the next match and finish the season strongly in order to qualify for the European Championship.” Frank Wormuth is in charge as head coach of Heracles Almelo. He is an old acquaintance of Roger Schmidt. “He was my teacher for eleven months when I looked to get my license. I would like to see him and have a chat but not before this game. Heracles are physically strong, they play a high-intensity game and are difficult to play. All the players work hard, run a lot and show great work ethics. I expect a tough game.”
Germans in the Dutch Eredivisie
Schmidt is not surprised that quite a few Dutch players and coaches like to ply their trade in the Dutch Eredivisie. “You sometimes underestimate your own league. Here in Holland, some good football is played. The facilities are excellent and the stadiums are great and so are the fans! This is an ideal league for players who want to make the next step.”
Injury and contract update
Schmidt also provided an injury update. “All players have returned unscathed from international duty but Ryan Thomas sustained an injury in training this week and will undergo ankle surgery soon. He will be out for the rest of the season”, said PSV’s head coach. Mauro Júnior and Maximiliano Romero face a long spell on the sidelines with injury. The contracts of Thomas and Júnior expire in the summer of 2022, but Schmidt thinks PSV will offer them a contract extension. “They are complete footballers with their own individual qualities and put in consistently fine displays. They fit very well in our football philosophy and we will sorely miss these two reliable duo, but we have a fine squad and will be ready on Sunday.”
Schmidt’s contract with PSV expires at the end of next season but a contract extension is not on his mind yet. “Toon Gerbrands, John de Jong and I get along fine together and I am happy to be here. I see a lot of potential for next season, when we want to win prizes but first we look to finish the current season in style. It is a challenge to book a place in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League.”