PSV were rubbish against NAC at the weekend. Despite going ahead early through Georgino Wijnaldum, NAC were ahead shortly afterwards as Santi Kolk equalised and Anthony Lurling wove through some poor defending for the second. Shortly before half-time, Stanislav Manolev was sent off after picking up a second yellow for what was about his sixth cautionable offence. Kolk increased the lead with a free header and NAC held onto it quite comfortably despite them being reduced to ten as well after an ugly challenge from Robbert Schilder. This came on the back of a 4-2 defeat to Valencia in the Europa League - they were 4-0 down after an hour - and a 6-2 snotting from title rivals FC Twente who themselves were a man short for almost the whole second half. It has not been a good week for PSV.
They have also lost up at Groningen in recent weeks - Manolev was sent off there too - and have won only three Eredivisie matches since the league resumed after the winter break. They've gone from top at Christmas to fourth. This prompted the board to act and Fred Rutten was sacked today.
Rutten was already going to leave at the end of the season. The club had been vocal about bringing Steve McClaren to Eindhoven, but with Twente dispensing with Co Adriaanse and the ex-England manager returning to Enschede, that is no longer an option. Perhaps that knowledge that Rutten was leaving and the public courting of other coaches has had an effect on the playing staff in terms of motivation. Whatever the reasons, they're in a funk at the moment and the title push has been derailed. They are four points back from leaders AZ, but the rot has set in and it needs to be turned around quickly if they're to salvage something from the season.
Philip Cocu and fellow alumnus Ernest Faber have been given the rescue job until the end of the season. Cocu has long been groomed for the role and this would appear to be an extended job interview. He's very highly thought of as a coach and continues to work with the national team alongside Bert van Marwijk and was strongly linked with the Australian national team job in recent times. The worry has to be that if he flunks the interview or decides it's not for him, where can PSV turn? The obvious candidates - Eric Gerets for example or the impressive Alex Pastoor - are already in work and the ability of PSV to pay compensation has to be questioned.
PSV remain a big club and have a superb pool of talent with the likes of Dries Mertens, Ola Toivonen, Tim Matavz and the exciting Zakaria Labyad. This is a real opportunity for one of the great Oranje players to make a real impression in the coaching career he's always seemed destined for. If he doesn't, a grand old club are in some trouble.