UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Old heads order of the day for PSV and Napoli

While SSC Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri will rely on experience for Thursday's trip to PSV Eindhoven, Dick Advocaat is attempting to resist the allure of 18-year-old Jurgen Locadia.

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri speaks to the media in Eindhoven
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri speaks to the media in Eindhoven ©AFP/Getty Images

For fans of a certain age, the UEFA Europa League meeting of PSV Eindhoven and SSC Napoli will evoke memories of the late 1980s – a glorious time for both clubs.

PSV's finest hour came in 1988 when they won the European Champion Clubs' Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory against SL Benfica. That success came 12 months before their Serie A opponents – empowered by Diego Maradona and marshalled by Ciro Ferrara – lifted the UEFA Cup at VfB Stuttgart's expense.

The first encounter between the teams since those halcyon days offers the Dutch side the chance to right the wrongs of their 2-0 Group F loss at FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on matchday one. Meanwhile, a hat-trick from Eduardo Vargas inspired SSC Napoli to a 4-0 home defeat of AIK Solna.

PSV have returned to form since – and in style. They have won their last three games, scoring 12 goals in the process. On Sunday, they overwhelmed hosts VVV-Venlo 6-0, a match notable for the 11-minute hat-trick scored by teenager Jurgen Locadia on his Eredivisie debut.

After such an explosive impact, the question now is whether the 18-year-old will start against a Napoli outfit who are level on points with Serie A leaders Juventus. "He is a player who has qualities but we don't want to overstate them," said PSV coach Dick Advocaat, playing down the hype. "He has to show he can maintain this level of performance. He is just beginning."

Dries Mertens, whose own weekend treble was overshadowed by Locadia's, appreciates the strength of the Partenopei's attacking options, led by the in-form Edinson Cavani. "They have really good strikers who can score for fun, so we have to watch them," said the Belgium forward. "It is good that Napoli are playing in Europe again, good for their reputation."

Sure enough, Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri is determined his charges leave their imprint on the competition. "For this game I will choose more experienced players instead of the younger ones," he said. "We are competing for our domestic title but also for the Europa League, and we have 22 players to use between the two.

"PSV are a great team and we have to think about how to set ourselves up. We have prepared for this match really well. We respect PSV and, in [Mark] van Bommel, they have a great player. They also have a lot of youngsters who are playing modern football, which we are taking very seriously."

Selected for you