Jan Wouters is refusing to push the panic button as his young PSV Eindhoven team look to put a setback behind them and beat FC Internazionale Milano.
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Despite a heavy home defeat in the Eredivisie last weekend, PSV Eindhoven's caretaker coach Jan Wouters is expected to stand by his players for the must-win UEFA Champions League encounter with FC Internazionale Milano.
PSV go into Matchday 6 needing to take three points from Group G winners Inter while also hoping that second-placed Fenerbahçe SK fail to beat PFC CSKA Moskva in Istanbul. Against this backdrop, their preparations could have gone better. The Dutch title-holders were defeated 4-2 at their own stadium by Roda JC on Friday, a result which meant they slipped below AFC Ajax at the top of the domestic standings. "We will obviously have to play less of an open game against Inter than we did with Roda," said Wouters. "But I don't feel the need to alter the team radically. Consistency in the starting lineup is also important."
One change looks unavoidable, however. Striker Danny Koevermans, who scored both of PSV's late consolation goals against Roda, strained a hamstring in training and is unlikely to be fit. His place will almost certainly be taken by Danko Lazović, back in contention after completing a one-game ban. Full-back Jan Kromkamp is unavailable after knee surgery, while fellow defender Manuel da Costa has overcome a knee problem but lacks match fitness. Eric Addo is still suspended.
Lack of experience
Wouters admits that Inter will provide a stern test for a side who are not yet the finished article. "We have a lot of young lads breaking into the first team, which is good, but we also need experienced players to give the team balance, and that's something I think we are lacking at the moment." You could forgive him for feeling somewhat envious when he discussed Wednesday's opponents. "I've heard people saying that Inter will send over a B team, but the players they can call on are still top quality and capable of excelling at the very highest level."
Inter on song
Definitely out of the reckoning for the Nerazzurri are Patrick Vieira (thigh), Olivier Dacourt (knee), Luís Figo (broken leg) and Dejan Stanković, who has suffered the recurrence of a troublesome achilles problem. Luis Antonio Jiménez is doubtful with a thigh strain while Zlatan Ibrahimović, Walter Samuel and Nicolás Burdisso are all banned. Yet despite these setbacks, Inter have hit a fine run of form. On Sunday they increased their lead over AS Roma at the Serie A summit to five points with a resounding 4-0 victory over Torino FC – their sixth successive triumph in all competitions.
The Italian champions may have already clinched pole position in Group G but coach Roberto Mancini emphasises that they are not in the Netherlands to make up the numbers: "I'm not interested in experiments, as we definitely want to win. I will pick the best players available. We have respect for our opponents, and in a competition like this you should always try and do your best." These sentiments are echoed by captain Javier Zanetti, who said: "We're all focused and I, for one, won't be taking things easy just because we've already qualified."