Mark van Bommel Mark van Bommel faced the media on Wednesday afternoon ahead of tomorrow night’s UEFA Europa Group D opening match against Sporting CP. PSV’s head coach first of all paid tribute to Fernando Ricksen, who has passed away aged 43 following his battle with motor neurone disease.
Fernando has been a terrific fighter for six years. He would do anything to help you. We shared some good times together. I could tell hundreds of anecdotes about this great man. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with the family and friends of Fernando Ricksen at this very sad time. “
Van Bommel then looked ahead to Thursday’s game against Sporting CP, a Primeira Liga club from Lisbon that has built a solid reputation. “It will be a clash between two big clubs from the Dutch and the Portuguese league. We are certainly looking forward to the challenge.”
Van Bommel thinks that PSV and Sporting are fairly well-matched. “They play some good football, like all Portuguese clubs, and show great technical and tactical skills.” Sporting CP has a turbulent start to the season and their head coach Marcel Keizer was dismissed at the beginning of September.”
“We analysed their games after Sporting CP parted company with Marcel Keizer, but we will always stick to our own style of play .”
Philips Stadion packed to capacity
The Philips Stadion will be packed to capacity when PSV take on Sporting CP. “I am not surprised a 30,000 crowd will turn up”, explained Van Bommel. “The Europa League is a prestigious tournament and PSV supporters are a good example of fiercely loyal fans. There is a strong bond between the players and the fans before, during and after the game.”
Thursday’s match against Sporting comes too early for Erick Gutiérrez while Gastón Pereiro and Sam Lammers also miss the game due to injuries. Ibrahim Afellay, Lars Unnerstall and Ryan Thomas have been included in the PSV U21 squad that travels to England to kick off their PLIC (Premier League International Cup) campaign.