EXCLUSIVE: N.E.C. striker Michael Higdon confident of exploiting PSV defence

BeNeFoot’s Peter McVitie talked to Michael Higdon about his move to the Eredivisie, we present you with an excerpt of the interview.

N.E.C. striker Michael Higdon says his team are desperate to recover from the humiliation they suffered in their 4-1 defeat to Groningen on Saturday by trying to get a positive result from title candidates PSV this weekend.

The trip to Eindhoven is the first time Higdon will come up against one of the giants of Dutch football and it is a fixture he is looking forward to with optimism and excitement, admitting the glamour ties played a big part in bringing him to the Dutch league.

“That’s why I’m here – I look forward to the big games. In Scotland I enjoyed playing Celtic, Rangers and Hearts away. The stadiums over here are fantastic and they are full, so that’s an experience I look forward to.

“It will be a difficult game and we’ll be defending a lot of the time but if we hold them and can nick a goal then we might be able to come away with a result.”

Higdon feels there are lessons to be learned from PSV’s victory over ADO Den Haag last Saturday, in which the club of Phillip Cocu raced to a 3-0 lead in 33 minutes but conceded a goal in the dying minutes of each half, winning by only one goal. The Eindhoven team seemed to switch off and rest on their lead, which is something he will be ready to exploit this weekend if the PSV backline loses concentration.

“You’ve got to play for 90 minutes and if one team has taken their foot off the gas then you’ve got to exploit it. That’s what we’ll be looking to do, try to stay in the game for as long as we can and hopefully nick a couple of goals and get a decent result.”

HigdonAt 29, Higdon is eight years older than the oldest member of the back four Phillip Cocu fielded last week, Jeffrey Bruma. As a player with greater experience than these players and one who is used to an arguably more physical style of play in Scotland, Higdon is hopeful that he can gain an advantage against this fresh defence. But the Englishman admits the height, strength and raw talent of centre-backs Bruma and Karim Rekik means he cannot underestimate them.“I’d like to think I can use my experience to try and exploit their centre-backs but it’s difficult, they’re over six feet tall, it doesn’t matter how inexperienced they are, they’re big strong lads. So it’s new for me and it’s going to be new for them playing against someone like me. Hopefully we can do ourselves justice and put a decent performance in on Saturday.”

The new N.E.C. striker was obviously disappointed to start his Eredivisie career with a 4-1 defeat at home to FC Groningen, but he says the team want to recover from the loss as quickly as they possibly can.

“The result was terrible. We’ve done a lot of work on defensive shaping and we didn’t get it right. Groningen are a good team and they passed the ball around well and picked us off quite easily, so it was like all of our work had gone out of the window. The manager wasn’t too down-hearted after the game and said we just have to stick to the plan and see it through a lot better than we did.

“Hopefully we can put it right sooner rather than later.”

For N.E.C.’s sake, they simply must put it right to ensure the decline they suffered at the tail end of last season, in which they picked up one point from their last ten games, doesn’t carry on to this one. The Nijmegen club are aiming for a Europa League playoff spot. A result against PSV will be a statement of intent from them. And Higdon could be crucial in that.

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