Published on April 17th, 2018 | by David Kraakman0
Dutch delight as Phillip Cocu returns PSV to top of Eredivisie tree
After a Dutch dip when Feyenoord moved to the top of the tree, Phillip Cocu has restored the supremacy of PSV in the Eredivisie
What a day it was for PSV Eindhoven on Sunday.
Big rivals Ajax Amsterdam had come to town, searching for a win as the only result that could keep their slim title chances alive. Little did they know that their pre-match comments, saying that they would win for sure, had awoken a beast that was raring to go when the match kicked off in the Phillips stadium.
The side managed by Phillip Cocu blew the Amsterdammers away right from minute one and showed exactly why they deserve the title this season. PSV won the game 3-0, through goals from Gastón Pereiro, Luuk de Jong and Steven Bergwijn, and had clearly frustrated Ajax with their superiority on the pitch, leading to two late dismissals for Erik Ten Hag’s outfit.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSportsnl) April 15, 2018
The high PSV is currently experiencing is a huge contrast to the painful low that the squad was living through at the start of the season. Back then PSV were knocked out by European minnows NK Osijek (Croatia) in the third qualification round of the Europa League. A lot of questions were imposed on the PSV board about the position of manager Cocu and a lot of media outlets were suggesting a change was needed.
The former Dutch international has never really been viewed in a completely positive way by the pundits as his managerial style is not the most attractive and doesn’t usually fit at a top club. The respect for his playing career probably kept him in a job after a very poor first season at the helm of the club.
However, it has proven to be a good decision anyway as results have started to flood in. With Eindhoven having become accustomed to being the footballing capital of the country since the turn of the century, which always used to be Amsterdam, the club began to lose ground again as Ajax won four consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2014.
Cocu stopped this impressive streak and recaptured the Eredivisie in the 2014/15 season, following it up with another domestic success by doing it again the next campaign. On top of that, Cocu masterminded some ‘European success’ by guiding PSV past the group stages of the Champions League – something that hadn’t been done by a Dutch club in quite a while.
Feyenoord temporarily stopped PSV’s dominance last season by grabbing the title but couldn’t stop Cocu’s men this time around, meaning PSV have now won three of the last four Dutch championships which should give us the conclusion that despite the criticism, Cocu has done brilliantly so far.
— Georginio Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) April 15, 2018
His defensive-minded style of play will never receive as many plaudits as Ajax’s attacking flair but in all fairness it’s a playing style that kind of suits his best players. Wingers Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn flourish with a lot of space in front of them as it’s useful to exploit their pace and trickery. It has made them two of the standout players in the Eredivsie this term.
Another player that has been instrumental in PSV’s title win is captain Marco van Ginkel. The former Chelsea midfielder is such a complete midfielder, who seems to improve each season. His engine, vision and scoring ability has been a huge part of PSV emerging victorious this season.
Cocu will feel happy with his team and can already look forward to another campaign in the Champions League. Another good appearance in that competition and we might be considering him the best Dutch manager around.