Friday morning brought with it more fantastic weather, with the group walking out to train under the beaming sunshine as we finalised our preparations for our clash with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
We split into three groups to work on specifics. Steve Spooner took the defenders, focusing on play-round areas; Gareth Holmes took the midfielders, looking solely at rotational movement patterns in the centre of the pitch and Kristjaan Speakman put the forwards through a finishing exercise.
After this, the group reassembled to go into a progressive counter attacking drill, with the session being concluded by some short and sharp, small sided games.
Out fixture against PSV was for many (well prior to kick-off anyway) the highlight of the tour and the game that really caught everyone’s imagination when we looked at the fixtures on this trip.
As kick-off was scheduled for 11am we were up for Breakfast at 8am or 7am GMT. So you could say an early start but one designed to put fuel into our bodies at the best possible time.
As we arrived at PSV’s training ground the mood was a tense but focused on the job in hand.
The first half was extremely close, with both sides playing fluid possession football which must have been entertaining for the couple of hundreds specatator’s in the stand.
Wes McDonald was running through his full repertoire of passing in midfield and strikers David Poppa and Kyle Mcfarlane both had chances to break the deadlock. Playing in oppressive heat any plan to press the ball was quickly ditched and it was even steven for half an hour before PSV opened the scoring.
In the second period we looked leggy and PSV’s quality started to show. Three goals in a calamitous ten minutes killed of our chances of getting back into the game though Edjidja Mbunga scored a goal that we were more than worthy of after a wonderful forty yard pass from Sam Deadfield.
We actually threatened tour hosts several times before and after their goal, but unfortunately couldn’t quite manage to bring the score even closer.
The game ended 4-1 and with three goals down to individual errors on our part their was a slightly aggrieved feeling permeating around the camp. In fact but for a docile ten minutes we could’ve really given them a run for their money however that said huge credit must also go to the PSV who never faltered in their application throughout the ninety minutes.
Back at the hotel, a team meeting took place. The coaches dissected the performance pulling out several key points that needed amending, while also pointing out the positive aspects to our play.