Groningen boss asks for calm

Groningen have lost three games in a row including the 4-1 defeat

at home to Heracles last weekend. That has allowed ADO Den Haag to

climb above them into fourth, while there is an eight-point gap to

Ajax, who occupy the only automatic Europa League spot in third.

“Right now it is important to remain calm and to continue to

analyse the matter clearly,” Huistra said. “We must, however, do

something. Yes, I look at myself in the mirror and see things which

I could have tackled differently. “This is a decisive stage in the

season. The first objective is to win a match again. Despite three

defeats, we are still good.” On Friday night, Groningen face a

tricky trip to Utrecht who drew 1-1 with Roda JC last Sunday.

Elsewhere, Heerenveen travel to Vitesse on Saturday night, and

striker Oussama Assaidi will be hoping to get on the score sheet

after failing to deliver against Feyenoord. The Moroccan forward

issued an apology to coach Ron Jans after last weekend’s 1-0 home

defeat. “Sorry coach, I did not score,” he said after several

chances went begging. “I’m fed up that I have not finished it.”

However, Jans publicly backed his striker and praised the rest of

the team. “Anybody can miss an opportunity,” he said. “[The game

against Feyenoord] was the best game of the season. The way we

played football was fantastic and the guys have fought with a

lion’s heart.” It was high praise from the Heerenveen coach after

the 6-2 hammering of reigning champions FC Twente earlier in the

season. In the other games, leaders PSV Eindhoven travel to NEC

Nijmegen where they will hope to extend the gap at the top

following last weekend’s last-gasp win over Excelsior. Also on

Sunday, Twente are three points behind PSV in second place and will

be looking to maintain the pressure against second-bottom

VVV-Venlo. Basement club Willem II host third-placed Ajax, who will

be hoping to continue their goalscoring form following their 4-0

thumping of AZ Alkmaar last Sunday. On Saturday evening, AZ Alkmaar

travel to Roda JC, who are just two points behind their

sixth-placed rivals after last weekend’s draw whilst Feyenoord host

NAC Breda on Sunday. In the other games of the weekend, mid-table

Heracles take on Excelsior on Saturday and De Graafschap play ADO

Den Haag on Sunday morning.