Tuesday May 1, 2007
Koeman a relieved man after PSV’s title triumph
THE HAGUE: PSV Eindhoven coach Ronald Koeman was relieved at winning the Dutch League title on Sunday after intense pressure from the board of directors in recent weeks as the club’s form slumped.
PSV were crowned champions on goal difference from Ajax after both teams finished on 75 points from 34 games.
PSV thumped Vitesse Arnhem 5-1 in their final match, while Ajax could only manage a 2-0 win over Willem II Tilburg, handing the Eindhoven side a better goal difference of just one.
It was PSV’s 20th Dutch title, and third consecutive one, ensuring they qualify for next season’s Champions League, the lucrative showcase event of European club football.
However, the pressure told on former Dutch international Koeman – who guided PSV to the Champions League quarter-finals where they lost to Liverpool. He did not do a lap of honour with his team at the end of the match.
“I am upset at the lack of support from the directors of late in our bid to win the title,” said Koeman, who replaced Guus Hiddink at the helm last July.
“The title is certainly a little bit of a miracle but it is fantastic and deserved.”
However, Koeman’s position could be in doubt judging by comments made by PSV president Fris Schuitema after they won the title.
“It took a lot of effort to win the title on the final day of the championship,” he said.
“And clearly we are not satisfied with the second half of the season,” added Schuitema, referring to the fact that PSV held an 11-point lead at the midway point.
AZ Alkmaar, who went into the final day of the league on 72 points and with a better goal difference than both PSV and Ajax, suffered a 3-2 loss to Excelsior Rotterdam to finish third.
Ajax, Alkmaar, Twente and Heerenveen will meet in the play-offs to decide the second Dutch team to qualify for a Champions League spot.
Den Haag were relegated to the Second Division. – AFP