Struggling AZ has Karlsson back against Anderlecht: ‘Have missed him’

NOS Football

AZ coach Jansen: ‘Runs smoother in league, but no more than that’

AZ will visit a struggling Anderlecht on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Conference League. The Belgian team is ninth in the league, but the Alkmaarers have also had sand in their engine in recent weeks. However, coach Pascal Jansen is not worried.

“We focus on the things we are good at. And of course we do name where things are a little more difficult.”

AZ is having a good season, both European and in the premier league. But in the league, the team failed to win three games in a row. They lost against FC Twente (2-1) and Sparta (0-1) and against sc Heerenveen AZ did not get beyond 1-1.

Too sweet group of players?

AZ seems to be missing a player in those games who helps the team over the dead end. A player with venom. Do the Alkmaarers have too sweet a group of players?

“That has often been said in the past,” Jansen parries. “We would have ideal sons-in-law. We do our job. We do it with passion and with abandon. There are times when you earn more than you get. Sometimes things are also against us. Right now, things are running stiffer in the league, but no more than that.”

Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan sees AZ creating plenty of chances, so thinks it also has to do with bad luck.

Mathew Ryan and Pascal Jansen

Ryan: “It’s unfortunate that we get goals against. I always say: with a clean sheet you have at least a point. But up front we create enough chances, we’ve often hit the post. So I’m not worried. We’ve done well all season against a bit of opposition.”

Karlsson’s return

A positive note is the return of Jesper Karlsson. The tastemaker was absent in the lost game against Sparta last weekend due to injury.

Jansen: “We missed him last weekend, but health of players always comes first. Now he is back with us and the last few days at training have gone well.”

Striker Vangelis Pavlidis was also not in the starting lineup against Sparta, but seems fit enough to start again. “As it looks now, both of them can play in any case.”

Kayleigh Williams