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"An evenly contested match" (

21 feb 2005 - Source:

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Guus Hiddink thinks the PSV-AS Monaco tie can go either way; he estimated his team's chances of progressing to the next phase at 'fifty-fifty' at a pre-match press conference in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium this afternoon.Hiddink has named a provisional twenty-man squad for tomorrow night’s game against AS Monaco, so two players will be withdrawn from the squad on match-day. "A few players are facing minor problems, but things look bright right now. Johann Vogel is recovering well from a knock on his back and John de Jong has been called up again."Looking ahead to the two legs against AS Monaco, Hiddink announced that PSV are now in a position that they have in vain tried to achieve the past few years. "But we should not forget that it is an achievement in itself to participate in the Champions League for so many consecutive seasons. It was our aim to reach the next round and that’s what we have done. But we are still hungry and we are most anxious to play a trick on another team." Hiddink scouted AS Monaco himself once, but the other preparatory activities were done by the international scouting staff and the other members of the PSV technical staff. "This team is more stubborn, physical, business-like and uncomplicated than the side we met last season. They are less frivolous, but by no means less threatening and dangerous. I am aware I use clichés to make my point, but we should be very alert and sharp indeed. This is a fine encounter to lay the foundation to seal a place in the last eight of the competition", explained Hiddink.He is familiar with the style of play that AS Monaco adopt. "They don’t adjust that quickly, generally speaking. If they did, they would lose their football religion. The main issue is not what players they are going to field, but rather what kind of style they will adopt. I feel the PSV-AS Monaco tie can go either way and I estimate our chances of progressing to the next phase at 'fifty-fifty'. I won’t be surprised if we enjoy victory, for I think it will be an evenly contested match. As Monaco are set to defend stubbornly and passionately at home as well, it is adamant we should keep a clean sheet at home."Hiddink was asked how he, as an old hand in the world of football, experiences a game like this. His answered that he "relishes games like this one that can cause some sort of excitement. They are 'the best bits'. I have been focusing on this particular game for some weeks yet."AS Monaco coach Didier Deschamps will give his views and answer questions at a press conference in the Eindhoven Philips Stadium at 18:15, after which the Monegasques will train on the pitch of the Philips Stadium. Visitors are welcome for only the first fifteen minutes. Deschamps has indicated that he wishes to train behind closed doors.