It has only been a month since PSV made a serious attack on Ajax in the Johan Cruijff ArenA in the Eredivisie. After an excellent start, with two goals from Eran Zahavi, the Eindhoven team had to settle for a draw: 2-2. It seemed to be the starting point of a long and exciting title battle, but after losing points against AZ (1-3), Feyenoord (3-1) and Saturday against ADO Den Haag (2-2), second place seems to be the highest achievable for PSV for the time being. Ajax has 9 loss points less and also eliminated PSV on Wednesday in the quarter finals of the KNVB cup (2-1).
The upcoming battle with Olympiakos Piraeus in the first knockout round of the Europa League has now become even more important for PSV. The first meeting in Greece will be on Thursday, followed by the return in Eindhoven a week later. When eliminated, the month of February is one to forget very quickly for PSV.
“It was impossible not to win this match. But we succeeded”, said trainer Roger Schmidt in the stadium of ADO Den Haag. “No, I haven’t seen many matches like this. One time in the Champions League, I think. Sometimes it’s like that in football.”
PSV recorded 34 shot attempts in The Hague, 15 of which were on goal. Only Donyell Malen managed to score twice. The many chances did not seem to break the brabanders, until Michiel Kramer took the unexpected 2-2 in injury time with a bicycle kick.
Schmidt has received a lot of criticism in recent weeks. This mainly concerned the switches that he made. Mohamed Ihattaren was upset against Ajax on Wednesday that he was replaced by Yorbe Vertessen in the last ten minutes. Four days earlier, Donyell Malen, with a 3-0 lead against FC Twente, did not understand much of his late substitution. Schmidt’s press conference on Friday, in the run-up to the match with ADO, lasted no less than 40 minutes.
On Saturday, Schmidt could not be blamed for much. PSV continuously had the upper hand and got chance after chance. Things went wrong in injury time. “We can talk about anything, about experience or cleverness. But it had nothing to do with that today. We just should have won this game,” said Schmidt, who must ensure that the pressure does not increase further in the coming weeks. In addition to the two meetings with Olympiakos, PSV will play two more top matches this month, at home against Vitesse (21 February) and at home against Ajax (28 February).