London: PSV Eindhoven have only themselves to blame after their Champions League exit, coach Guus Hiddink said Tuesday.
The Dutch club drew 0-0 at English champions Arsenal in their final first-phase match but, with Auxerre beating Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in the other Group A fixture, PSV found themselves bottom of the section and denied even a consolation Uefa Cup place.
Hiddink, who took South Korea to the semi-finals of this year’s World Cup, pointed to PSV’s home defeats to Arsenal and Dortmund earlier in the competition. “We failed to do well in our home matches, we were rather naive in this respect,” Hiddink told reporters.
“Those early mistakes, against big clubs, made it difficult for us. We showed that we did not know how to play Champions League football at home. We are disappointed, we know this team has potential. It’s a pity their European experience cannot continue at the moment.”
PSV lost 0-4 at home to Arsenal and 1-3 at home to Dortmund in the second and third matches of the first phase and, even though they picked up five points from their last three Champions League games, it was not enough to save them.
Hiddink went on the offensive in response to allegations that his midfielder, Mark van Bommel, was shown by television pictures to have spat at Arsenal’s Thierry Henry during the Highbury encounter.
“Sometimes players’ behaviour is mutual — maybe it was the other way around,” he said. “Some players have the tendency to commit foul play in other ways... maybe one of the Arsenal players did something to one of mine.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said he was aware of an altercation between Dutch international Van Bommel and France striker Henry but added: “I did not see what Van Bommel did to Henry.”
Wenger was more concerned with Arsenal's place at the top of Group A, ahead of Dortmund courtesy of their 2-0 home win over the Bundesliga club.
Arsenal will be seeded for the draw for the second group stage and Wenger said: “It is a slight advantage. But more importantly, we wanted to finish top because we felt we deserved to... We feel we were the best team in the group.”
PSV failed to find a breakthrough in north London despite playing for 65 minutes against ten men after Kolo Toure was dismissed for two bookable offences.
“The first yellow card was deserved but the second was harsh,” said Wenger. “I thought we were dangerous with 10 men and PSV were not sure what to do — whether to have a go at us or play for the 0-0 draw.”