PSV 'exhausted' after hard-earned triumph
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
"We ran for each other and played as a team," said Héctor Moreno, who scored as inexperienced PSV Eindhoven came from behind to beat Manchester United.
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With the PSV starting XI's combined total of UEFA Champions League appearances ahead of kick-off amounting to less than a third of Bastian Schweinsteiger's personal tally, Manchester United's experience might have been expected to pay in their opening Group B game.
And yet, despite going a goal behind and being outplayed for most of the first half, the Dutch champions – many of whose players were making their debut at this level – refused to buckle, bouncing back to win the game.
"We kept believing that it was possible, even when we were behind," said PSV coach Phillip Cocu. "We were convinced that we would get chances. It was then up to us to take them. Luciano Narsingh's goal demonstrated that – he almost never scores with his head. We also had to be sharp defensively. It became clear that we couldn't play our way out of defence in the last 15 minutes, but we did make sure that we preserved our lead."
"We ran for each other and played as a team," added Héctor Moreno. "We knew they are a great side with great players. Sometimes in the Eredivisie we are the team that has the ball most of the time but we knew tonight it would be different so we played smart and relied on the counterattack. Everyone in the dressing room is exhausted but it was worth it."
Moreno's goal, shortly before half-time, instilled hope in his team-mates. "I dream every time I go on to the pitch that I will score a goal," he said, "and tonight I just jumped as high as I could. Luckily the ball was played to me."
Nevertheless, Moreno's early challenge that resulted in Luke Shaw being carried off the pitch with a broken leg led to different emotions for the Mexican. "I don't know what happened," the 27-year-old said. "I just feel really bad because I was involved in the accident. I feel really sorry."
It was a horrible moment for the United left-back, overshadowing a defeat Red Devils captain Chris Smalling said could have been avoided. "We deserved to go in 1-0 ahead at half-time, and to concede from a set-play was very disappointing," he said. "I don't think they created any other chances in the first half. It was sloppy defending."
His team's inability to claw back the deficit must also be a worry for many at Old Trafford. A UEFA Champions League campaign which seemed to be going so well when PSV old boy Memphis Depay scored the opener now seems considerably more perilous. Group B could really be one to watch.