AZ against Feyenoord is also Slot versus Jansen: ‘We are two professionals’
“I did find his obsession with the job very interesting to witness up close.” AZ coach Pascal Jansen speaks highly of his colleague Arne Slot, who is currently leading the Eredivisie with the Rotterdammers, a day before the topper against Feyenoord.
Jansen, who was Slot’s assistant in Alkmaar for a year and a half, describes himself and his colleague as two “professional idiots.” Slot’s main quality, according to Jansen, is his possession. “Every day he has the urge to make his team better,” he said.
“I think Arne is very convinced of what he can do, what he thinks and what he does. And he can convey that to his team in a good way. That’s a strong trait of his.”
Slot, for his part, is not surprised that Jansen has successfully succeeded him as head coach in Alkmaar and is currently second with AZ.
“I knew he was a good trainer who was very good in the group. And before I was trainer, AZ had good players, when I was there AZ had good players and after I left they had good players. The coach is there for the style of play, but the players determine the performance.”
Offensive and defensive
Slot says that while working together in Alkmaar, they did not share exactly the same vision of soccer. “I think I was on the attacking side what, where he also mentioned the defensive side. Not that one was on the right and the other on the left, but they were interesting conversations. I won’t say we are the same, but if you see our teams play you will see a lot of similarities.”
Whereas Slot can use his experience as a professional soccer player as a coach, that is not the case for Jansen. Due to injury, he quit soccer early and started as a youth coach at HFC Haarlem at a young age. By now that has been almost thirty years ago.
Feyenoord coach Slot on successor Jansen: ‘Doesn’t surprise me that he is doing well with AZ’
“I worked for a long time in youth, where the individual is also central in terms of development. In that I developed slightly differently from Arne and two worlds came together. It was an interesting period,” Jansen said.
Feyenoord most fortunate
The outward game in Alkmaar ended in a 1-3 victory for Feyenoord and Jansen is looking forward to seeing his team in action again in a real premier league clash. “We are both in a nice position and we are meeting at a fantastic time,” he said.
When asked if Feyenoord is the most stable team in the premier league, Jansen takes a moment. “Maybe still the luckiest of the group sitting at the top. Without shortchanging them. They can put up good numbers from the games they’ve played, but over all it’s also the case that everyone at the top has spilled.”
Feyenoord has managed to make up ground several times this season and Jansen looks at that with admiration. “A great thing about the team is that they are unyielding,” he said.
The difference between the two clubs is only two points, and a win would allow AZ to retake the lead from the Rotterdammers. Yet Jansen, as often in recent weeks, does not want to use words like championship.
“Once you’re three or four games before the end, you can take stock. It is still quiet now, the North Holland sobriety prevails here.”