Wednesday, 24 February 2016

PSV Eindhoven v Atletico Madrid - Preview

PSV Eindhoven will miss striker Luuk de Jong when they entertain Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

Philip Cocu's side won all their home games in the group stage, but must take on 2014 runners-up Atletico without the suspended De Jong who has scored 17 goals this season to help lift PSV to the top of the Eredivisie.

Cocu, though, will be encouraged by the return of influential Mexican midfielder Andres Guardado following a hamstring injury.

"Simeone is bringing success back to Atlético. You can see his character as a player reflected in his team – I applaud that. They have a clear style of play. Would I settle for a 0-0 draw? Keeping a clean sheet could be very important." said Cocu

"Atlético have a consistent side, they're a great team unit, they won't give anything away. They always play the same way – they are winners and they play a compact game despite a busy fixture list. They are a nice example of everybody playing for each other and for the team. You have to be prepared and give your all every time."

PSV have kept clean sheets in their last three domestic league games to edge one point ahead of second-placed Ajax.

Second-placed Atletico slipped eight points adrift of Barcelona after Sunday's goalless draw at home to Villarreal, but will also take heart from a consistent rearguard that has conceded 11 goals in 25 La Liga games this season.

Coach Diego Simeone said his team were still on course to achieve their targets.

"If you look at the objectives we set at the beginning of the season we are on the right track and, apart from Barcelona who are different to all the rest, it's hard for all of us," explained Simeone.

Atletico won 13 points out of 18 in the Champions League group stage and will hope to repeat the 3-0 win they recorded in Eindhoven in the 2008/09 Champions League when the two clubs were in the same first-round section.

The return match at the Vicente Calderon is on March 15. 

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