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de Rood-Witten

A PSV Eindhoven Story
Started on 19 February 2019 by OohAhCantona / First Post
Latest Reply on 9 July 2019 by ScottT / Last Post
2019-03-31 13:22#255675 ScottT : Congratulations on a hugely successful season, domestically and in Europe, arguably. I look forward to seeing how you improve next season!

I would feel better if I wasn't taken to the wood shed by Atlético Madrid, but that was just a solid wake up call as to how good my roster actually is. I'm not sure if there was a tactical solution to that, they barely lifted a finger.

PSV START ATTEMPT TO MAKE IT THREE

With Mark van Bommel sitting on top of the Dutch soccer world, this season would likely be much harder than the last. Winning the league two times in a row is hard enough, but now everyone would be gunning for PSV on a weekly basis. There is the bonus of having a season under your belt, you can follow the game all you want but the experience of dealing with players and the weekly grind is a different thing altogether. It looks like van Bommels two team system worked well and kept his players happy when it comes to playing time, so we should see that trend continue and PSV tries to balance domestic and continental competitions.


Gerbrands and van Bommel have worked hard to improve the squad.

2019-20 ROSTER

This summer was all about retooling the roster and fixing glaring weaknesses. The sale of a number of players and Champions League revenue allowed PSV to spend money on reinforcements, but the bulk of the team that finished the previous season remains.

Goalkeepers
Little to no change from last season, at least not a meaningful change. Eloy Room is gone, team captain Jeroen Zoet remains entrenched in the starting position. While Zoet has his problems last year, mainly letting in long shots that should have been easy, he’s good enough to sit behind one of the toughest defenses the Eredivisie. Lars Unnerstall (29) was recalled from a loan spell at VVV-Venlo last year to take the place of Room, he’s the only “new” face here and doesn’t figure to surrender any starts to Yanick van Osch (22) without an injury.

Best Player : Jereon Zoet (Team Captain)

Defenders
The primary focus of Mark van Bommel and Toon Gerbrands offseason was strengthening the central defense. Nicolas Isimat-Mirin had a season to forget, and even though he’s one of their best players in terms of talent he has been identified as a serious problem. Robert Arbeloda and Isimat-Mirin played together quite a bit, but that pairing seemed to sour quickly and performed quite poorly, so poorly that van Bommel opted to start Daniel Schwaab over Isimat-Mirin in the stretch run. That problem is gone as it turns out the best replacement for Isimat-Mirin was right under van Bommel’s nose. Well, not right under his nose, he was on loan at Hertha Berlin last year; Derrick Luckassen. The signing of César Montes gives PSV the “four deep” CB stable van Bommel desperately needed last year. Montes and Arbeloda are slated to be the first choice pairing with Isimat-Mirin and Luckassen as second choice. Schwaab and Trent Sainsbury are still around and figure to be injury fill ins and subs.

The outside backs are the center of Eindhoven’s media coverage. It’s hard to read about PSV without seeing people go on and on about RB Antônio Carlos, who is starting the season at Jong PSV, and it’s starting to look like the buzz is legitimate. Putting that aside, Nick Viergever and Angeliño are back at LB with Aziz Behich lurking on Jong PSV, ready to fill in as needed. At RB the role is Denzel Dumphries to lose, Léo Dubois returned to Olympique Lyon after a successful loan spell that they refused to extend. PSV signed Antonio Valencia on a free transfer, bringing a great deal of experience and leadership to the team, but he figures to be behind Dumphries on the depth chart and then it gets pretty murky. Jordan Teze, a Jong PSV player, has a shot at being a backup choice if Antônio Carlos doesn’t ascend to that position by the start of the season.


Adding Montes could be a huge step in strengthening the defense.

PSV know they have something special in Antônio Carlos because the rest of Europe does as well. Manchester United were the first to come calling with a £1.5M bid , before Antônio Carlos ever kicked a ball above the U-19 team, and then it got out of hand. Chelsea and Manchester United launched numerous bids starting at £4M and heading all the way up to £8.5M before Paris SG jumped in at £9.5M. Inside sources report that Gerbands didn’t even let them finish before letting them know Antônio Carlos was not for sale.

Best Player : César Montes

Midfielders
Even with injuries, this group fulfilled their billing as the deepest group. Everyone who ended up playing came up big at some point, and van Bommel expects that to continue through this season. Nobody came in this summer, with the newest member being Willian Arão who came in during the winter transfer window last year. No changes to the projected lineup aside from the “second” squad. CAM will be manned by Gastón Pereiro and Mauro Júnior will step in as second choice. Bart Ramselaar is going to float between the two midfield groups, he can play CAM in a pinch and both deeper roles (DLP & BBM) quite well.

This group has quite a bit of depth, but if van Bommel and Gerbrands have any regrets it’s not being able to find the elite box to box midfielder this team needs. Numerous players filled the role last year, but Pablo Rosario could definitely be improved upon. Arão is the second team starter, and isn’t that far off Rosario, Marlon Frey and Ryan Thomas figure to fill in at either position. Lost in the jubilation of the Antônio Carlos Watch is the other much hyped Wonderkid; Ryan Gravenberch. Gravenberch is only 17, and if Antonio Marin taught us anything it’s that van Bommel will have no problems sending him out as their deep lying playmaker. Erick Gutiérrezis the definite starter, but Gravenberch will be given a chance to show he’s ready from the second squad.


PSV finally get their man in Morilla.

There is one player that isn’t a lock for the senior squad that PSV have been trying to sign for over a year; Pelayo Morilla. PSV managed to agree on a fee for him with Sporting Gijón last year but the contract negotiations fell through, this year they were able to agree on something and bring him in. He is likely to be loaned out or start at Jong PSV while he waits for an injury at CAM.

Best Player : Gastón Pereiro

Forwards
The forwards are a very interesting group this time around, but like last year they may be a little thin. There isn’t much to get excited about beyond the second squad, so injuries could land van Bommel in trouble. The headliner is RW Antonio Marin, who had an incredible season at just 17 last year. If he improves on last year it will be really hard to keep him off the transfer radar, but PSV can’t worry about that until it happens. Bruno Henrique will start at LW with Donyell Malen backing him up. Steven Bergwijn will play opposite Malen, and then it gets really dark for PSV. Bergwijn can play LW as well, but the wide attacker options at Jong PSV or the U-19 squad are not great right now. There are some super exciting youngsters, but they aren’t ready yet.

The central attacking duo of Luuk de Jong and Maximiliano Romero return, and they both look solid after a really good season. This is one area that might not be overly exciting, but van Bommel doesn’t need to worry much. Malen can also fill in, so there is some depth. There is a lot of buzz around Rinus Bakayoko, but he’s just 17 and could still use a year or two in the U-19 or Jong PSV setup before getting moved to the senior squad. If van Bommel has to use Bakayoko either something has gone very wrong or he’s developed into a superstar.

Best Player : Antonio Marin

PSV ANNOUNCE NEW KIT SPONSOR

PSV opened their preseason by announcing a new kit sponsor and unveiling some tweaks to their kit design. PSV pushed for Umbro, in the last year of their kit deal, to bring back the more traditional collar. The presentation also marked the start of PSV’s “Make It Three” marketing push presented by Toon Gerbrands.

“As we look to defend our title yet again, we aim to win our third in a row” read Gerbrands from a prepared statement “and also push ourselves to continue building for the future and add a third star. Let’s make it three!”

The new kits are mostly similar to the 2018/19 kits with some minor variations, there are rumors swirling around that with Umbro’s contract expiring PSV wasn’t particularly interested in overhauling the look of the kits. Perhaps next year, Umbro or not, PSV will look to make changes to their kit. The signing of Brainport Eindhoven is also part of the club’s push to connect with the city. Brainport is a media and technologies company based in Eindhoven, and the team has also used a number of their services as part of the sponsorship.


PSV BLAST THROUGH FRIENDLIES, STUMBLE IN SUPER CUP

Fans rejoiced while van Bommel grumbled, it seems that it is Antônio Carlos’ destiny to be the first choice RB at PSV. The first day he reported to training, with Lierse Kempenzonen a week away, Antonio Valencia went down with a strained hamstring. The injury would keep him out up to three weeks and push Antônio Carlos into the starting lineup for most if not all friendlies. It would be a trial by fire for the Wonderkid, though the competition wouldn’t quite be up to the Eredivisie until their final game against Bayer Leverkusen.

For the most part the games went as expected in Year 3 of the van Bommel era. Most of the teams provided little resistance for the starting lineup. Lierse Kempenzonen (3-0), Tourizense (6-0), and KRC Genk (3-1) would go down easily and give the team the confidence they would need heading into their final freindly and the Dutch Supercup.

Unfortunately for PSV confidence would only go so far as they hit a wall against a better team from a stronger league. Bayer Leverkusen would field some excellent players like Kai Havertz, Johnathan Tah, and Leon Bailey. While a 1-1 draw is hardly a massive letdown, there was the feeling that PSV could win this game. In the end it turned out to be more of a wake up call like the Atlético Madrid games in the Champions League last year.

The pre-Super Cup drama came fast for PSV, internal and external news would have the team feeling the stress of the advancing season. Erick Gutiérrez would join Antonio Valencia in the medical center, going down with a groin strain in practice that would keep him out 3-4 weeks. The Champions League Third Round Qualifying draw would pit FK Vardar (Macedonia) against Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Isreal) with the winner going on to face PSV. The Eredivisie has dropped in UEFA’s standings, so PSV will need to play through another round of games before making the Group Stage. Maccabi Tel-Aviv would walk away with their matchup, winning the first 3-0 and advancing with a 3-1 win Schadenfreude aside, Ajax would not help the Eredivisie’s standing after squeaking past Sparta Prague 3-2(agg) in their qualification campaign, losing the first game 2-0 on the road. KRC Genk would then return the favor, losing 2-0 at Johan Cruijff ArenA and eliminating the only other Dutch team with a 3-0 win at home.

The pre-supercup drama would finish up with Maximiliano Romero having a bust up with van Bommel over his contract. It all started with FC Schalke 04 putting in a £8.5M offer (£21M with incentives) for the striker which was quickly rejected, Romero didn’t appreciate this and wanted a new contract to make up for it. Seeing how Romero is under contract through 2023, van Bommel had no motivation to give into this. While it’s likely Romero is due for a raise, since he’s making a paltry sum on a prospect contract, Toon Gerbrands isn’t getting into the habit of giving out new contracts when someone has four years remaining.

DUTCH SUPER CUP

KNVB Cup (H) : PSV 0 - Ajax 1


This result could have been seen coming a mile away, even at home. Ajax plays a troublesome 4-1-2-3 DM Wide formation, which can cause issues for van Bommel’s 4-2-3-1 at times, and the second choice team got the nod for the game. The fans were not happy to see this, but with various injuries and UCL qualification coming up in a few days it wasn’t worth risking a poor result in that game or further injuries in this one.

“It isn’t ideal, and everyone knows how I feel about Ajax” said van Bommel in the tunnel “but I have a full season to think about.”

Despite being short handed PSV took this game right to Ajax, but as fans will tell you after last year this doesn’t always result in a win. Ajax were happy to cede possession, waiting for a counter attack, but it just never seemed to materialize. Both teams enjoyed the nuisance of having a goal disallowed, though Ajax had little ground to complain. A short corner to David Neres outside the box resulted in a stunning shot that beat a diving Jeroen Zoet, sending the Ajax fans into a jubilant celebration. The celebration died quickly as PSV’s back line had drawn up rapidly on the initial kick and caught Joël Veltman, Walter González, and Donny van de Beek well offsides. PSV’s turn spawned a van Bommel rant that left the ref reconsidering his career choice. Maximiliano Romero was side-by-side with Maximilian Wöber when a through ball from Steven Bergwijn released Romero to score, but it was called offsides.

Another thing PSV fans have come to expect was seeing their team cough up a goal on sloppy counter attack, at the 80’ mark González put one away with Nicolas Isimat-Mirin once again the goat while Zoet gave up yet another goal on a long distance shot. This game turned into a microcosm of PSV’s troubles, made more poignant coming against Ajax.
Love the new kits!!

PSV RAID YOUTH SYSTEMS, BUILD FOR THE FUTURE

That whole “keep the current roster” plan van Bommel and Toon Gerbrands were working on went pear shaped really quickly as the season approached. There were a few approaches during the off-season, mainly the bust up with Maximiliano Romero, but things really accelerated as the transfer window came to a close.

The canary in the coal mine turned out to be Donyell Malen who refused to discuss a new contract with a little over a year left on his current deal, he was upset that PSV hadn’t given him a new deal during the season last year and was now set on leaving. When Roma came calling with a £6M they were more than happy to be rid of Malen, and not long after they had another problem to deal with. Pablo Rosario joined the unhappy player club when PSV rejected a bid from Aston Villa for £6.5M, they came back with an offer at £8.5M and he was out the door as well.

At first this looked like a horrible turn of events, but PSV were quick to move as they had a plan in place for Malen. With £14.5M burning a hole in Gerbrand’s pocket the team pulled the trigger on an offer for Schalke’s LW Eugene Konoplyanka who came at a steep discount (£2.2M) as he was very unhappy and Schalke wanted to be rid of him. Bruno Henrique now found himself as the second choice LW, and PSV had managed a serious improvement on the left.

Before van Bommel and Gerbrands could finish patting themselves on the back things got much worse, but at least it came with a shower of cash. Denzel Dumphries became the target of an £8.5M bid from Bayern Munich that was rejected, which he did not take to kindly. Sources report that Dumphries and van Bommel had quite a discussion about the rejected bid, when Dumphries was pressed on what he would need to stay he demanded a salary close to £2.5M a year which would have doubled anyone else on the squad. This did not sit well with PSV, and when the news of a bust up leaked out more teams came calling. Eventually Bayern Munich came back with a bid of £9M and Gerbrands was more than happy to rid the team of another malcontent.

With Dumphries gone the rest of the Bundesliga decided to get in on the PSV roster. Next RB Leipzig put in a number of very aggressive offers on Mauro Júnior, eventually a £17.5M offer was too much to pass up on. If PSV had not landed Pelayo Morilla they would not have sold Mauro Júnior, but with the young Spaniard waiting in the wings this looked like the perfect risk. Hertha BSC were next, but this time they picked the wrong player to be aggressive on. They put in a £12.5M offer for Maximiliano Romero and were told “He isn’t for sale”, apparently they heard that as “offer more” and came back with £17M and an additional £3M in incentives. Normally this would have been a Godfather offer, but with nothing beyond Luuk de Jong and Romero under contract through 2023 there was no reason to make this move.

Romero’s agent saw this as a great time to demand a new contract, but with him under contract through 2023 PSV also had no reason to agree. Romero was going to have to wait a little longer for an improved deal, and van Bommel was about to go through the most brutal part of the pre-transfer window. It started very slowly early in the summer, but now PSV was not completely under attack.

The PSV staff that van Bommel worked so hard to assemble was being pillages, there was no level of the organization that wasn’t being torn at by teams outside of the Netherlands. It was a flattering sign to see that other teams had recognized the quality of PSV’s staff, but it was really hard to see valued members of the organization leave. The most gut wrenching departure was Eva Carniero, who would turn down an offer to be Head Physio, and move closer to home at Valencia. Fans were heartbroken to hear that Carniero, signed on a free before last season, was going to abandon them after falling in love with her. Flowers piled up at Philips Stadion, but she still left.


Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
I was wrong, and I just can't live without you

Despite all of the drama, PSV was now sitting on £35M in transfer funds with £2.5M in free payroll. They had managed to trim some fat and make room for promising youngsters. The next thing Gerbrands did was learn from all of this mess and splash out some cash on locking up Antônio Carlos and Boudewijn Dembélé through 2024 and upping their salaries to £250,000 a year. With Dumphries gone Antônio Carlos now had a clear path to the second team slot at RB, and the big teams were not going to stop calling.

Senior Transfers
Eugene Konoplyanka (LW, Schalke) £2.2M
Pelayo Morilla (CAM,Sporting Gijon) £3M
César Montes (CB, Monterrey) £10M - PSV Record (£8.5M)

Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Óscar Bernal (DM, Cachorros de la UdeG - Mexico) Free
Valentyn Alimov (LB, Académica - Portugal) £110,000
Youcef Mehimdat (CAM, Nasr Athletic Hussein-Dey - Algeria) £60,000
Vitor Saramago (DM, Real - Portugal) £230,000
Andrés Morales (CB, Envigado F.C. - Colombia) £450,000
Ante Josipovic (ST, HNK Hajduk - Croatia) £750,000
Guilherme Miguel (CAM, Vit. Guimarães - Portugal) £200,000
André Kraus (RB, Floridsdorfer AC - German) £400,000

PSV were also able to take that big pot of transfer fee and sink it into a number of exciting prospects. The prospect with the most buzz is André Kraus, seen as one of the most promising players in Germany, it was quite a coup to land him and add depth to a rapidly thinning position. The £400,000 transfer fee was also too good to pass up on when other German players had price tags in the 10’s of millions.

PSV START CHAMPIONS LEAGUE & EREDIVISE RUN BEGINS

Champions League - Playoff (H) : PSV 4 - Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0


With the Super Cup loss hanging over their head, it wouldn’t take much for PSV to get motivated for this game. The extra round of games wasn’t helping either, but van Bommel was focused and keeping their momentum.

“I haven’t let them forget about last year” bluntly stated van Bommel before the game. “We are good enough to win these games, but if we lose focus Maccabi will not hesitate.”

Home cooking was exactly what PSV needed to back up van Bommel’s confidence as Maccabi Tel-Aviv looked like they were more than ready to get back home. Most of their limited possession was in their third and most attempts to move it out were aimless long balls down field that PSV were more than happy to collect. Nick Viergever and Antônio Carlos ran the show, giving the visitors the kind of nightmare they didn’t need. They just didn’t have an answer for Antônio Carlos’ speed on the outside and he had all the room in the world on the outside.

The 4-0 win would be a great start, and would likely kill of Maccabi’s chances of advancing, but PSV would be without Eugene Konoplyanka for the second leg. An ankle injury suffered late in the game would hold him out at least 3-5 days. This would likely mean a Jong PSV player, probably Cody Gakpo, would need to fill in.

Champions League - Playoff (A) : Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1(1) - PSV 1(5)


For a team up 4-0, PSV had a horrible week mostly off the field. They opened the league with a 3-1 home victory over Heracles Almelo, but lost Ryan Gravenberch for almost two weeks after cutting his leg late in the game. To make things worse, the old transfer bid song and dance struck Erick Gutiérrez after Bayern Munich came calling with an insultingly low offer of £10M. Inside sources report that Gutiérrez became upset that he wasn’t sold, but rumors are that van Bommel promised to sell him after the season if he still wanted to leave.

Perhaps it was the off-field distractions, or maybe PSV just can’t deal with Champions League qualification games on the road. This was a poor performance, perhaps even more than just poor as PSV looked like they were lost.

“Piss. Piss poor, is what I would say” replied van Bommel when asked about the result. “I take the blame, clearly I did not prepare us enough for this environment. We need to learn from this.”


Advancing wasn't enough to satisfy van Bommel.

Despite seeming to dominate, PSV were toothless in front of goal and barely made Pedrag Rajkovic work. Giving up a goal 17’ in did not help van Bommel’s mood, or seem to mean much to the PSV players. Once Gakpo, playing in place of Konoplyanka, scored at 62’ at the back post off an Antônio Carlos cross the team really tuned out. Up 5-1, it didn’t seem like they were going to lose this one. The only player who seemed to care was Antônio Carlos, who had a really solid game by leading the team in chances created (2), key passes (2), and the assist. Antonio Valencia is already sweating his long term first team slot.

With their ticket to the next round in hand PSV would sit back and wait for Red Star Belgrade to finish off the Romanian side FCSB 5-4 on aggregate. Yet another tricky road match to send van Bommel into fits, perhaps this sluggish performance will not repeat itself.
Think it's safe to say you're through to the Group Stages, congrats man and congratulations on Story of the Month!!

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

Champions League - Playoff (A) : Red Star Belgrade 1 - PSV 5


PSV fans were probably going through some déjà vu as this game unfolded, especially if déjà vu comes with a record transfer fee that might unlock the potential of van Bommel’s midfield. Prior to ripping apart SBV Excelsior 3-0 on the road last week PSV would land Feyenoord’s Tonny Vilhena for a new club record £10.25M, meeting his release clause and damaging a league rival at the same time. Vilhena would make his debut today at the box to box midfielder position, displacing Willian Arão, and the results speak for themselves.

Things got out of hand really quickly for the hosts, perhaps they were overconfident in PSV’s struggles on the road in Europe, they found themselves down 3-0 before Nikola Stojiljkovic scored on a through ball from an offsides position at 36’. This did not go over well with van Bommel, but perhaps it was karma after Luuk de Jong’s goal at 28’ that left the away fans howling and whistling at their own team. Srdjan Babic, under duress from PSV’s high press, booted the ball back to GK Milan Borjan who’s first touch sent the ball bounding a little farther away than he wanted to and an onrushing de Jong was right there to kick it in.

Red Star seemed to staunch the bleeding after halftime, leaving themselves in an unpleasant (3) away goal hole that would be tough to climb out of at the Philips Stadion. Then PSV’s press took over and the tired hosts couldn’t keep up, Eugene Konoplyanka would score at 69’ to give Antonio Marin his second assist of the game and send Red Star into an even deeper hole. Babic, who would post an abysmal 5.6 rating partly due to his back pass gaff, added to his day by sticking out his leg to trip Marin inside the box. The 81’ minute penalty would put Red Star in a (5) away goal hole that would be exceedingly difficult to overturn.

Toon Gerbrands and van Bommel didn’t have much time to enjoy the victory as more transfer drama came knocking, this time it was one of the worst players to deal with. Celctic came sniffing around Jeroen Zoet, offering £7.5M for the captain and team leader. There was no way PSV management would let a key player like that leave at the beginning of the season, and Zoet’s agent took this as an opening for an improved deal. As usual, this did not work and Zoet walked away unsettled.

For once, the aggression shown by bidders opened a window for van Bommel to fix a serious issue with the squad. After stirring up trouble with Zoet Celtic came back and offered £8M (£10M) for Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. Sources inside the team and in the media indicate that PSV had been actively scouting central defenders, which is likely why they set a new transfer record (£12.5M) for Braga’s Bruno Viana before Isimat-Mirin was even out the door. Being able to finance the addition of a solid central defender with the sale of a massive headache was too good to pass up.


That escalated quickly...
Deservedly coasting into the CL group stage with some great performances here. Massive congrats in order for the SotM victory too mate!
Sailing through to the next round of the competition

PSV LEARN FROM LAST SEASON, KEEP MOMENTUM

Champions League - Playoff (H) : PSV 2(7) - Red Star Belgrade 0(1)


With the big win on the road it would make it easier for PSV to close this one out at home, van Bommel would continue his assault on complacency in private and in the media to make sure this wouldn’t be close. For whatever reason, Red Star Belgrade did not seem particularly interested in turning this one over.

Gastón Pereiro scored at 2’ on a free kick just a yard outside the right corner of the box, curling the ball hard over the ball and bouncing off Milan Borjan’s outstretched hand to hit the inside of the netting. That was basically it for Red Star, as if being down 5-0 already wasn’t bad enough. PSV held the ball for a whopping 63% of the time and the visitors barely made Jeroen Zoet work. Tonny Vilhena add goal at 79’ and completed the route.

PSV would pocket £13.7M for advancing to the group stage and find themselves seeded 3rd for the draw. For the second season in a row, the draw would be kind to de Rood-Witten. Very, very kind.

Group C
Barcelona (Spain)
PSV (Netherlands)
Spartak Moscow (Russia)
Club Brugge (Belgium)

Group C would end up being the easiest group by far, with PSV having a very high chance of advancing. They don’t have much chance of winning the group, but advancing is very real and very important financially. The gamesmanship between these teams would start early and Club Brugge would open their Champions League run by trying to purchase Derrick Luckassen for £5M. This rejected offer sent Luckassen asking for a new deal, which didn’t happen, and out another team on van Bommel’s list of revenge games.

KNVB 1st Round Draw would also happen the same day with PSV landing vv Eemdijk. The Derde Divisie side would likely put up less of a fight than any of the Champions League teams, but van Bommel has been known to approach domestic cup games with the same level of preparation. PSV have an excuse to fail out of the Champions League, they don’t have an excuse for losing to vv Eemdijk.
Too easy for you in the playoffs! A decent group there and one you should be looking to get out of. The main task will be ensuring the players don't get too confident against Brugge and Spartak, so you can get the necessary results.
2019-04-09 11:27#255791 ScottT : Too easy for you in the playoffs! A decent group there and one you should be looking to get out of. The main task will be ensuring the players don't get too confident against Brugge and Spartak, so you can get the necessary results.

I learned later, but try to be true to the "moment" when I write these, that Brugge has a equivalent roster! I definitely need to be more careful with top teams from similar / lesser European leagues.
All too easy for you, continue that form in the league and you're in for one hell of a season

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