PSV are in pole position for a second-place finish. Speaking to the press on Friday morning, head coach Roger cautiously looked ahead to next season but reiterated his wish to finish the campaign on a high note. “After a good weekend, we start to feel the pressure”, said Schmidt, referring to the Eredivisie table.
Focus on second-place finish
“It’s been a good weekend: AZ suffered defeat against Ajax and we claimed a victory against FC Groningen. We have moved to second place, three points above AZ and our goal difference stands at plus 35, nine better than AZ’s. Yet we feel the pressure. Sc Heerenveen are a good team who intend to give us a tough time. When we played them in Heerenveen this season, they started some fine counter attacks and showed great clinical finishing. But we feel we are ready for the challenge after a good week of training”, said PSV’s German manager who focuses on a second-place finish.
Once PSV have secured a second-place finish, the focus will be on next season, but there are already plenty of transfer speculations right now. Schmidt, himself, who is being linked in the German press with a move to a German club, responded by playing down speculation. “I didn’t come to PSV for just one season. I put pen to paper on a two-year contract. Moreover I would like to see the Philips Stadion packed to capacity and hear the fans cheer us on. If I left Eindhoven now, I don’t think I would look upon myself as a PSV head coach.”
Speculation over summer moves is heating up and several Dutch newspapers report that PSV are looking to bolster their squad with the signing of players like Davy Pröpper and sc Heerenveen midfielder Joey Veerman. “They are good players”, admitted Schmidt, who refused to comment on those rumours. “A number of key players will leave PSV this summer and we are obviously looking to strengthen our squad, like any club would do. We set high standards.”
Schmidt also provided an injury update during his weekly press briefing. One first-team regular, captain Denzel Dumfries, serves a one-match suspension and misses Sunday’s game against sc Heerenveen, while Timo Baumgartl and Mohamed Ihattaren missed a few training sessions, as they suffer minor problems. “Timo is not available to feature on Sunday and Mo is doubtful”, said Schmidt.
Noni Madueke may be given an opportunity to shine. The young Englishman did not get much game time the past few weeks, but Schmidt is convinced of his abilities. We have a lot of options up front. Donyell Malen, Eran Zahavi, Cody Gakpo and Mario Götze are having a fine spell and I can bring on Yorbe Vertessen, Mo Ihattaren and Noni as substitutes. Noni has taken giant strides in his career this season. He was out for some time due to an injury and didn’t always get the best out of himself on the training pitch. But he has worked hard in training all week and will certainly get playing time in the remaining four games. I am sure he is ready for the next step with PSV next season.”