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This time 12 months ago PSV Eindhoven were top of their UEFA Europa League pool with three wins and a draw from four matches. Fast forward a year and the Dutch club have an identical record in Group C but, crucially, have qualification for the round of 32 sewn up. The difference, according to forward Ola Toivonen: a more attacking approach.
Though the Eredivisie outfit have scored the same amount of goals – eight – as at this point in last term's European campaign, the PSV captain identifies the addition of four summer signings and a change in system as being key to their progress.
"Last year we played with two defensive midfielders, now we try to play with two attacking and one defensive. That is the biggest change," Swedish international Toivonen told UEFA.com.
"Of course, we have some good quality players in the team compared to last year, with [Dries] Mertens, [Kevin] Strootman and [Georginio] Wijnaldum. And then, on the last day of the window, [Tim] Matavž also joined us. These are really good players."
Quarter-finalists in 2010/11, PSV's continental displays – most recently a recovery from 3-1 down to draw with Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC, with Toivonen scoring – have raised hopes among supporters of a first European trophy since 1988. Can Fred Rutten's men justify the fans' optimism?
"It's a long journey so anything can happen," said Toivonen, 25, of a possible run to the final in Bucharest. "Last year we also had an impressive group stage, and then grew more and more into it when we came to the knockout stage.
"We had good results against Lille and Rangers but, in the end, Benfica were too strong for us. You need a little bit of luck with the draw for the knockout phase, not getting a big team in the first two rounds."
To hear more from PSV's No7 before the matchday five trip to Legia Warszawa, watch the video above.
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