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PSV ready for Auxerre

Published: Tuesday 29 October 2002, 19.06CET
Only a win will do as PSV Eindhoven host AJ Auxerre in a pivotal Group A game.
Published: Tuesday 29 October 2002, 19.06CET

PSV ready for Auxerre

Only a win will do as PSV Eindhoven host AJ Auxerre in a pivotal Group A game.

By Theo Ruizenaar

With good results on Matchday Four, PSV Eindhoven and AJ Auxerre have revived their hopes of reaching the second group stage, but both need a win as they face each other at the Philips stadium in Wednesday's Group A game.

Restored confidence
While PSV are five points behind second-placed BV Borussia Dortmund, a 1-1 draw at the Westfalenstadion last week has restored confidence. However, only a win, coupled with defeat for Dortmund in Wednesday's other Group A game on Wednesday against Arsenal, will keep PSV's hopes alive, and coach Guus Hiddink is hoping his side to take the game to Auxerre and not fall foul of the lapses of concentration that have cost them in other Champions League games.

'Still in Business'
"We have to control the match tomorrow, but also show some smartness," he said. "If you lose the ball don't lose it in a situation which will result in a chance for them. If we play like that, I'm sure that we are still in business in the Champions League."

Hofland retuns
PSV's hopes will be boosted by the return of Kevin Hofland to the centre of defence, after a spell on the injury list. "I still believe that we have a chance," said Hofland. "Against Arsenal we had an early setback but we should have scored twice before half-time. That's exactly what's happening in all matches - we create chances but forget to score."

Three-point gap
Just three points behind Dortmund, Guy Roux's side have a better chance of reaching the second group stage, although an injury to French international defender Philippe Mexès have brought Auxerre down to earth after their superb 2-1 win at Arsenal on Matchday Four.

Pulled muscle
The 20-year-old has pulled a thigh muscle, but on the positive side, Auxerre expect to have another French international, striker Djibril Cissé, back to full fitness. Having watched his side prosper in Cissé's absence, Roux must now decide whether to change that winning formula to accommodate last season's top scorer. "It's true that we have done well without him but you always want your best players fit," said Roux.

Mwaruwari problem
Cissé's absence, with a foot injury sustained against SC Bastia on 11 September, opened the door for Zimbabwean striker Benjamin Mwaruwari to become an instant hit at the Stade de l'Abbé Deschamps, scoring seven goals in nine matches. Roux must decide whether the two players can be fielded in tandem, but Mwaruwari is unconcerned by the chance that he might be sidelined in Cissé's favour. "I expect Cissé to come back into the team," Mwaruwari admitted. " Whatever the coach decides, I will not get upset. Three months ago I thought my career in Europe was finished and now I am here, playing with the top side in France."

Lachuer confident
Auxerre captain Yann Lachuer remains confident that, aided by Cissé's return, Auxerre can reach the next stage. "To qualify we probably have to win our last two games, but I think that's possible," said the midfield player. "Djibril can give us the lift we need. He is a world class player - his mere presence instils fear in opposition defences and, in my opinion, we need him back as quickly as possible."


Last updated: 31/10/02 17.23CET

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