Sunderland will have to adapt to PSV Eindhoven’s possession-based football if they are to qualify for the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup, Under-21 coach Andy Welsh has warned.
The Black Cats host Dutch opposition at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night (kick-off 7pm) in the last eight of the International Cup - the competition which pits Premier League development sides against their rivals on the Continent.
We’ve played German and Spanish opposition already this season, so that can only enhance your development programme.
Sunderland have already faced Borussia Monchengladbach and Athletic Bilbao in the group stages of the competition, but Welsh expects a sterner test against Dutch side PSV.
“I think this competition has been very positive,” he said.
“It gives you the chance to assess your players at this level.
“We’ve played German and Spanish opposition already this season, so that can only enhance your development programme.
“The Germans were very functional, the Spanish kept the ball very well and the Dutch will try to dominate, so we’ll have to try to wrestle it back.
“It’s not so much about winning at this level, even though it’s always nice to win and it would be great to get through to the semi-finals, which we’ll be doing our upmost to do.
“But you find out more about your players in games like this.”
Tonight’s game brings to an end a daunting triple-header at the start of 2016 for the U21 Premier League table-toppers, who suffered a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, before a stalemate against Chelsea last weekend.
“This will be the third of three really difficult games - Man United where we unfortunate not to get something from it, Chelsea where it was not too dissimilar,” added Welsh.
“Because we are top of the league, clubs are putting out better teams against us.
“PSV will try to dominate the ball.
“They’re obviously a top Dutch outfit and we’re looking forward to it.
“We’ve got a game-plan set, which we’ve been working on this week.
“Hopefully, we can be organised and we can try to win it.”
There will be no free entry for season card holders tomorrow, with admission priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.