“Teams from the Netherlands always play well-maintained football and like to put a lot of pressure on them. What you do see is that they sometimes have problems defensively. We have to see if we can take advantage of that.”
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers also thinks that PSV’s Achilles heel is in the back. “PSV is attackingly strong. The most dangerous players are up front with a good striker and two great wingers. Gakpo is a great talent on the left wing, where he comes in dangerously. But it is also a team that easily concedes goals. We have to make use of that. They play with a recognizable style, as Roger Schmidt teams always do. I think it can be a good fight,” said Rodgers, who indicated at the press conference that Luke Thomas is available again against PSV after a hamstring injury. That doesn’t apply to Jamie Vardy. Rodgers cannot yet put a term on the term that the renowned striker needs to be deployable again.
Castagne, a Belgian international, considers Leicester a favorite, but thinks it will certainly not be easy against PSV. “We cannot underestimate anyone. Because we’re from the Premier League and they’re from the Eredivisie, some people think it’s going to be easy. But it’s still a good team and they are doing very well. It’s up to us to get to our normal level. If we can do that, we will continue.”
PSV’s way of fighting, which likes to solve it by playing football, can work in Leicester’s favor, thinks the defender from Arlon near the border of Luxembourg. “PSV is a team with quality players that want to play football and don’t play long balls. That could work to our advantage if we manage to squeeze them.”
Castagne hopes to be able to put the intensity that Leicester is used to from the Premier League in the Conference League match with his teammates. “There is a big difference in intensity between Premier League and Eredivisie. We want to show that we can bring into the game the intensity that Premier League is known for.
Then we’ll have to see if they can handle that. They are good players. I don’t think there will be a big difference in technical qualities and things like that. The difference will really have to be made in terms of intensity and tactics.”
No Jut and Jul
Where previously in England the value of the Conference League was laconic, Leicester City manager Rodgers thinks differently. He certainly does not think it is a Jut en Jul competition, as Dutch national coach Louis van Gaal has repeatedly said. “When I was growing up there were three European competitions: the European Cup I for champions, the European Cup II for cup winners and the UEFA Cup. And every tournament had its prestige. Every team that took part had the ambition to win the tournament. Now there are three more European tournaments. Of course this is not a Champions League, but we are going to win this tournament. To be the first to win this tournament and write his name on the trophy. That would be something very special.”
Castagne also sees the value of the Conference League. “It’s a good competition and we’re getting closer to the end and that just makes it more fun. If we win the Conference League, we are qualified for the Europa League. That is an important motivation. We can also achieve that via the Europa League, but we have to go for both options. It is certainly something big. It’s a chance at a prize. You never say no to that. We are very motivated,” said the Belgian, who is supported with his teammates by a sold-out King Power Stadium in Leicester, which has a capacity of 32,500.