A goalless draw may be enough for PSV Eindhoven tonight but coach Sef Vergoossen is still determined to send his charges out to attack against ACF Fiorentina.
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PSV Eindhoven may be missing two key forwards against ACF Fiorentina, but coach Sef Vergoossen insists they will still attack in a UEFA Cup quarter-final tie in which a goalless draw would be enough for success.
A laboured 2-0 home victory over Heracles Almelo on Sunday took the Eredivisie champions to within two points of regaining their title, yet it also came at a price. Midfield inspiration Ibrahim Afellay picked up an ankle injury which prevents him lining up against the Serie A side on Thursday. "It's very unfortunate," said Vergoossen, "another few days and he would have made it." His absence is compounded by that of striker Jefferson Farfán who is suspended after receiving a late yellow card during last week's 1-1 first-leg draw in Florence.
Going for goals
Despite the double setback, and the fact a stalemate would suffice, Vergoossen rejects the suggestion that his team will be playing solely for a clean sheet. "We definitely won't just try to defend. Fiorentina have to score and they are a side who always have attacking intentions anyway, so it would be very dangerous if we handed the initiative to them by sitting back. Our aim is to go out and try to win the game."
For all the positive talking, however, it seems certain that PSV will start with Danny Koevermans as a lone striker. Jason Culina and Edison Méndez are likely additions to Sunday's lineup in place of Afellay and Farfán, as part of a five-man midfield. Ismaïl Aissati has shaken off a knock and should feature, although he is not expected to start. Instead, PSV will look to Otman Bakkal, 23-year-old local boy, to provide the creative spark in the middle of the park.
Faith in the future
Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli, meanwhile, is keeping a cool head amid mounting pressure. "I'm quite calm," he said. "I watched my players during their last two training sessions and I liked what I saw. There are a lot of youngsters in our team, but the experience they have gained in this competition so far has made them better players. I have faith in them. If we play together and attack as a team, I am confident we'll do well."
The Viola were buoyed by Sunday's 2-0 home success against Reggina Calcio which helped to consolidate fourth position in the Italian table. If several players were rested for that game, Prandelli has no particular injury worries and should be back to full strength in the Netherlands. With the imperative of having to score to survive, the visitors should partner Italian Under-21 international Giampaolo Pazzini in attack with Adrian Mutu, who scored his 16th league goal at the weekend. And with Christian Vieri also on the bench, it could be a testing night for the PSV defence.