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RC Deportivo La Coruña coach Javier Irureta has warned his players of the threat Tuesday's rivals PSV Eindhoven pose to their UEFA Champions League ambitions.
Irureta believes PSV have many potential dangermen, especially after witnessing his side's 3-2 defeat at CA Osasuna on Saturday. He said of the Dutch champions: "They play open football and have always been characterised by their attacking. They are ambitious and their need to win will make them very dangerous rivals."
Deportivo surrendered their 100 per cent record and pole position in the Primera División last weekend and, having been held 1-1 by AEK Athens FC in their opening Group C match, anything other than a win on Tuesday night would seriously hamper their chances of making it to the knockout phase.
Plea to fans
Irureta also emphasised the importance of winning home games and issued a plea for the fans to get behind the team. He said: "
I think home games are very important both in terms of the atmosphere and because we know the ground. These are circumstances that we have to use to our advantage to reach our objective of getting into the last 16."
Irureta will make sweeping changes to the defence that leaked three goals at the weekend. Argentinian Aldo Duscher is set to return to tighten up the centre, Héctor Berenguel will make way for either Manuel Pablo García or Lionel Scaloni in the right-back role while Enrique Romero is expected to return at left-back after missing Saturday's game.
Lifeline for PSV
Meanwhile, PSV coach Guus Hiddink believed Deportivo's draw with AEK two weeks ago had given his side a lifeline. After losing 2-1 at home to AS Monaco FC in their opener, Hiddink said: "We were lucky that the other match ended in a draw.
If we take one point in Spain we still have a chance of a good result in the Champions League."
Van der Schaaf crucial
Hiddink added: "We must show a professional spirit and play aggressively from the first until the last minute of the match." Hiddink will rely on Remco van der Schaaf to provide that aggression. The coach added: "He controls the match. And with our fast wing players we hope to create some chances."
A groin injury keeps out PSV's Danish international Kasper Bøgelund while fellow defenders Kevin Hofland and Ernest Faber are not match fit. Brazilian midfield player Leandro is still recovering from surgery, while PSV are also recovering from a 1-0 home defeat by AZ Alkmaar on Saturday, marking the Eredivisie champions' first loss of the new season.
Yet PSV completely dominated the opening 45 minutes of that game, almost taking the lead inside the first minute when Mateja Kezman's shot produced a good save from visiting goalkeeper Henk Timmer. But they were unable to turn their possession into goals, something they will need to reverse if they are to snatch a result in the Riazor.