Ruud van Nistelrooij quits as PSV trainer ahead of crucial final Eredivisie match
Ruud van Nistelrooij has stepped down as trainer of PSV Eindhoven with immediate effect, the club announced on Wednesday. The former Dutch national team player notified PSV earlier in the day. He made the decision on his own, saying he no longer felt supported by the club, the team said. Fred Rutten will replace Van Nistelrooij to lead the team during a critical final Eredivisie league match against AZ on Sunday that directly impacts which Dutch clubs will play in specific European football leagues next season.
During Van Nistelrooij's Tuesday evening meeting with the PSV Board of Directors, the trainer was unable to secure commitments to keep him in his current position next year, the team said. "It was decided to keep the focus on next Sunday's match against AZ and to continue talking after the season," PSV wrote in a statement. He gave his resignation the following morning. "He immediately explained this to the players and staff."
Van Nistelrooij signed a three-year contract with the team as their head coach late last March. Van Nistelrooij leaves after less than one full season with the club's top team, having won both the KNVB Cup and the Johan Cruijff Shield. Prior to that, he was the trainer for Jong PSV, and an assistant trainer with the Dutch men's national team. Van Nistelrooij's assistant, Fred Rutten, will take over. His managerial career dates back to 1999, including work as the PSV manager from 2009-2012, and an assistant from 2002-2006.
This season's 34th matchday takes place on Sunday, and it will be pivotal in deciding whether PSV or Amsterdam rivals Ajax get a shot to enter the Champions League for the upcoming season. Sunday is also extremely important for the Alkmaar squad, which is in the running for European play with 67 points in fourth place. PSV is standing in second place with 72 points, while Ajax trails in third with 69 points for the season. The Amsterdammers will battle FC Twente, the current fifth place team. Both have won three, lost one, and had one draw in their last five matches.
This year's Eredivisie winner, Feyenoord, will get to go straight through to the Champions League group stage, while the runner-up gets a chance during the Champions League qualifiers. The third place team enters the Europa League play-offs, while the fourth place team joins the Europa Conference League qualifiers.
The Eindhoven team's level of play has been of concern recently, even though the PSV won four of their last five matches in the Eredivisie, and took home the KNVB Cup against Ajax on penalties. They needed a victory over Heerenveen last week to secure second place on the Eredivisie table, but narrowly wound up in a 3-3 draw.
It took a 79th minute goal from Luuk de Jong and an 86th-minute penalty from Xavi Simons to bring PSV level during the match at Philips Stadium on Sunday. Defensive errors from PSV put the Eindhoven team in a vulnerable, giving up two goals late in the first half.
Simons also scored a goal in the 82nd minute of the team's previous match against Fortuna Sittard, also at home, to give PSV a 2-1 win over Fortuna Sittard. That club stands in 13th place with 35 points on the season.