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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Eredivisie: PSV adjusting to life after Stevens

PSV Eindhoven are still digesting the news of Huub Stevens' unexpected departure as they prepare for their next Eredivisie match at struggling De Graafschap.

The coach quit his post yesterday after just seven months in charge, saying he felt there was no longer a "click'' between himself and the players.

It has been a difficult season for the four-time defending champions, with the club already 15 points behind leaders AZ Alkmaar and out of both the KNVB Beker and Champions League.

Stevens had found himself under increasing pressure because in recent weeks, although PSV's players insist they did not see his resignation coming.

Defender Dirk Marcellis said: "As far as I know there was no talk of what was going to happen. For that reason I was stunned when I heard he'd left.''

Nordin Amrabat was also in shock at the news but said they had to accept Stevens' decision to stand down.

"I was surprised when (general director) Jan Reker told me,'' said the striker. "If I was coach, I would have stayed and tried. But who am I to say that? He's made his decision and we must respect it.''

Dwight Lodeweges has been named caretaker coach, and his first task is to help PSV focus on their trip to De Graafschap with the Eindhoven side looking for their first win of 2009.

They can take some heart from the fact their opponents are also having a bad season, with a 2-0 loss to AZ last weekend dropping De Graafschap back into the bottom three.

Another Dutch powerhouse, Feyenoord, have also had a disappointing campaign with the club lying 12th in the standings.

They parted company with their coach Gertjan Verbeek a fortnight ago, but were lifted yesterday by the news Mario Been will take the reins at the end of the season on a three-year deal.

Been is currently in charge of NEC Nijmegen, and in a twist to the story, they will face Feyenoord on Sunday just days after the deal was struck with the Rotterdammers.

With the spotlight on PSV and Feyenoord, leaders AZ have enjoyed quiet preparations for their meeting with Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday.

Louis van Gaal's men will be favourites to make it nine wins in a row against a Sparta side still searching for their first victory of the year.

Second-placed Ajax slipped six points behind the pace-setters with a 1-0 loss to FC Groningen last weekend, and will be tested again on Saturday when they take on a Heerenveen side who have won four of their last five league matches.

Defeat for Ajax could see them lose second spot in the table if FC Twente, who are just a point behind the Amsterdam club, beat FC Utrecht on Sunday.

NAC Breda will be keen to snatch fifth spot from PSV when they entertain foot-of-the-table FC Volendam on Saturday, while Willem II face lowly Vitesse Arnhem and ADO Den Haag meet Groningen on the same day.

The weekend's action begins tomorrow when Heracles Almelo visit Roda JC.


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