Hat-trick hero Bakkali earns Cocu's praise
By Football News
PSV Eindhoven coach Phillip Cocu has hailed Belgian starlet Zakaria Bakkali after his hat-trick in his side's 5-0 win over NEC on Saturday.
Cocu's side finished second to Ajax last season in the Eredivisie but have started the new season well with two wins from their opening two matches.
Bakkali, 17, was outstanding against NEC and Cocu said the young striker's maturity on the park belies his age.
"If he's offensive and defensive and does what is expected of him, he can make a difference," Cocu said.
"He has made great strides, he is very responsible.
"He has played a very complete game."
In addition to Bakkali's hat-trick, Georginio Wijnaldum scored a brace for PSV on Saturday and Cocu was delighted with all his players.
"The whole team has played very well. That early goal was what we wanted," the 42-year-old said.
"We played very well and very professionally."
Cocu's side were joined at the top of the Eredivisie standings by Heerenveen, who took a 2-0 away win at NAC Breda.
Heerenveen boss Marco van Basten conceded his men had been a touch fortunate to escape with the three points but was pleased with their defensive efforts.
"We had little grip or control of the match," Van Basten said.
"Even in difficult phases we defensively remained intact today. Last season, that was often different."