A disappointed Joris Mathijsen told UEFA.com that Hamburger SV's lack of focus in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against PSV Eindhoven has left the German side with only the smallest margin for error in the second leg.
Marcell Jansen's penalty in Thursday's opening game in northern Germany gives Hamburg a meagre advantage for next week's return in the Netherlands. With a Bundesliga match against Eintracht Frankfurt looming on Saturday, Mathijsen said Hamburg's indifferent display suggested the squad had not been fully concentrated on the task at hand.
"We weren't 100% focused," said the Dutch international defender. "I think perhaps we had Saturday's game in the back our minds. We allowed PSV to use their quality and they created chances. It's a shame. We simply have to be at 100% for 90 minutes. We have a very good team and we can beat anyone. But our second-half performance was bad and we can't allow that to happen."
Jansen registered his second goal of the competition from the spot on 26 minutes after Mladen Petrić had been impeded, but Bruno Labbadia's men failed to capitalise on their breakthough at the Hamburg Arena. Despite the introductions of Zé Roberto and former PSV favourite Ruud van Nistelrooy, the hosts were on the back foot for much of the second period, being indebted as much to PSV's profligate finishing as to goalkeeper Frank Rost.
"We'll have the advantage next week," added Mathijsen pragmatically. "We've won at home and we haven't conceded a goal. We had some chances, especially in the first half, but Frank Rost was excellent and we can be happy with the win. We've got to try and maintain our lead."
A vociferous and sizeable pocket of PSV travelling fans gave the Hamburg squad a taster of what to expect on 25 February. As a former Willem II and AZ Alkmaar player, Mathijsen has first-hand experience of the passionate Eindhoven crowd, and is well aware of the Dutch league leaders' desire to remain in continental competition.
"Playing in the Europa League is a real objective for Dutch teams," said the 29-year-old, who moved to Hamburg from AZ in 2006. "In the Netherlands the quality of opposition isn't as high, you win most of your games, so every match in the Europa League is special. In the Bundesliga you have to fight to pick up three points, it's not the same in the Netherlands. The stadium will be sold out next week and the atmosphere will be electric."
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