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Rutten scans level playing field for PSV

Published: Wednesday 23 February 2011, 16.32CET
For PSV Eindhoven's Fred Rutten, there is not much between the sides left in the UEFA Europa League as the Eredivisie leaders aim to oust French counterparts LOSC Lille Métropole.
Rutten scans level playing field for PSV
Fred Rutten believes the last 32 in the UEFA Europa League are of an even standard ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

PSVLille

Goals scored19
 
11
Attempts on target62
 
39
Attempts off target62
 
47
Corners68
 
47
Offsides33
 
25
Fouls committed179
 
105
Yellow cards19
 
20
Red cards0
1

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Published: Wednesday 23 February 2011, 16.32CET

Rutten scans level playing field for PSV

For PSV Eindhoven's Fred Rutten, there is not much between the sides left in the UEFA Europa League as the Eredivisie leaders aim to oust French counterparts LOSC Lille Métropole.

PSV Eindhoven coach Fred Rutten is starting to believe his side can win this season's UEFA Europa League as they go into Thursday's round of 16 second leg against LOSC Lille Métropole on the back of a 2-2 away draw.

There is not much between the teams left in the competition. The next matches will be decided on details – injuries, fitness of players.
PSV coach Fred Rutten

The Dutch Eredivisie leaders recovered from going 2-0 down against their Ligue 1 counterparts to earn parity in France last week. Asked whether his team could now dream of winning the competition, Rutten replied: "There is not much between the teams left in the competition. The next matches will be decided on details – injuries, fitness of players."

PSV looked to have been dealt a serious blow when Ibrahim Afellay left for FC Barcelona in the winter, yet they have continued to grind out results, thanks in no small part to their in-form strikers, Hungarian international Balázs Dzsudzsák and Sweden's Ola Toivonen. The pair have 13 league goals each this term.

Toivonen, 24, got the late equaliser at Lille, and, having deputised as captain in the 4-1 weekend thrashing of NAC Breda which left PSV top of the Eredivisie, he said: "I always try to be important for the team in every match. It is good to be top of the league, but now we have to concentrate on a very heavy week coming up."

Thursday's visit of Lille will be followed by a Dutch heavyweight encounter at home to third-placed Ajax on Sunday, although Toivonen's fellow Swedish international Marcus Berg explained: "We are focusing on Lille, not on Sunday's game. We have a nice programme of matches coming up. We have a positive feeling in our squad and we are looking forward to it."

Rutten has Orlando Engelaar, Wilfred Bouma and Erik Pieters fit again, and though aware that Lille can adjust their game significantly with a slight change of personnel, he feels his side are ready. "We have a battle plan for whoever plays for Lille," he said. "You have to be sure you don't walk into the mousetrap – if you do, it can be tough."

Lille boss Rudi Garcia, meanwhile, has been doing his best to lift his team after last week's late slip – they conceded 83rd and 84th-minute goals. They promptly suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat since October on Sunday, 1-0 at Montpellier Hérault SC, causing top scorer Moussa Sow to say: "We have to prove the Montpellier setback was just an accident."

Midfielder Mathieu Debuchy misses out through injury, yet while France centre-back Adil Rami is back to fitness, second-guessing Garcia's selection would be a thankless task. "We are disappointed to have lost the two-goal lead," he said. Nevertheless, we know one thing – qualification is possible, even if PSV are now favourites."

Last updated: 24/02/11 14.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000129/match=2003795/prematch/preview/index.html#level+playing+field+psv

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