“We like playing matches"

Article
“We like playing matches"

The Eredivisie fixtures are coming thick and fast for Mark van Bommel’s team. PSV play host to FC Groningen barely three days after the clash at home to Ajax. There is hardly time for rest and there is virtually no time on the training pitch to work on whatever tactics are needed for Wednesday’s match. But PSV’s head coach Mark van Bommel does not worry too much. “We like playing matches. It is our top priority.”

A hectic schedule
Mark van Bommel previewed Wednesday’s game after overseeing the Tuesday afternoon training session at PSV Campus De Herdgang. He first briefly looked back at the top-of-the-table clash with Ajax. “We staged a brave fightback to claim a point. We are facing a hectic schedule and I like the resilience shown by the players. It was not the first time this season that they came back from a goal down”, said Van Bommel, who boosted PSV’s attacking options by bringing on Cody Gakpo. The substitution paid immediate dividends. “I felt forced to fall back on ‘plan B’ and I was happy to see the substitution worked out well.”

Rotate squad
Van Bommel usually sticks to the same starting XI but the hectic schedule, with PSV playing three matches in six days’ time, may force PSV’s head to rotate his squad. “There are two options”, explained Van Bommel, with a broad grin. “Field an unchanged team or rotate players. We take each game as it comes and make a choice based on data, physical fitness and the style of play of our opponents.”

Ibrahim Afellay and Ryan Thomas have been recalled to the match squad for the first time this season and featured on the bench against Ajax. “They are making progress in their rehabilitation programme. Ryan is making big strides and Ibi is also on his way to return to full fitness. It’s great to see them have fun on the training pitch”, said Van Bommel.

A tough test
PSV welcome FC Groningen who have earned seven points from their six opening games. “Groningen will provide a tough test. They are a footballing side, who press high on the pitch and their defence is solid all around. I am looking forward to the game”, said Van Bommel.