KNVB BEKER TARGET FOR PSV
PSV Eindhoven caretaker boss Phillip Cocu says victory in Sunday's KNVB Beker final is just as important to the club as winning the Eredivisie title.
Cocu's men head into the match against Heracles Almelo at Rotterdam's De Kuip stadium fresh from a 2-0 victory over VVV-Venlo that left the club four points off the league summit with six games to go.
Six teams are still in the running for the title at this late stage in the season and the final weeks are shaping up to be frenetic, but Cocu does not view the cup competition as a distraction.
"It would be great to lift the trophy, a few weeks after I was appointed caretaker manager, but it is of paramount importance for the team in particular to win the cup", said Cocu, who replaced Fred Rutten as coach last month on an interim basis until the end of the season.
"The league and the Dutch Cup are equally important to me.
"It's a trophy that's there to be won. It will be a big day for the players. I need not tell them how big a game this is. As a player, you don't get that many opportunities to win a trophy.
"This week, it's all about the cup final. It's a trophy that's important to win."
PSV have overcome three top-flight sides on their way to the final, with FC Twente and NEC Nijmegen ousted before their 3-1 triumph over Heerenveen in the semi-finals.
Another win over Eredivisie opposition tomorrow would book PSV's place in Europe for next season, but Cocu believes the most significant reward would be the boost to their confidence.
"Lifting the cup would inspire confidence to the team as the league season enters its final stages," the former Holland international said.
"We would of course be happy to win the cup and book a place in a European competition next season, but we also have a specific aim in mind. We will start to focus on that after Sunday's Dutch Cup final."
Heracles go into the final as huge underdogs after their surprise run.
After routine wins over De Graafschap and RKC Waalwijk earlier in the competition, Heracles caught the imagination with an impressive 4-2 victory over Eredivisie title-chasers AZ Alkmaar in the final four.
The cup run is in stark contrast to the club's league form, which has brought five defeats in their last six outings to leave them seven points above the relegation zone, but Heracles coach Peter Bosz insists anything can happen at De Kuip.
"There's always a chance to win a trophy when you play the final, but PSV are clear favourites," he said.
"Yet we will give our all. We are happy to have reached the final and we think we're capable of beating any side on the day.
"Winning trophies, that's what it's all about. This is a big day for many of our players who have just started making their name in football and it is a very big day for Heracles football club."
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