‘Faith’ key word AZ aiming for European turnaround without Karlsson
AZ coach Jansen keeps turnaround possible: ‘Because we believe in it’
He repeated it a few times, leaving no doubt. Yes, AZ fully believes in a turnaround against Anderlecht, Thursday night, in the return match in the Conference League quarterfinals. Why shouldn’t the Alkmaarders be able to advance a round after all?
Of course, because of the 2-0 deficit, it will be a tough job, agreed coach Pascal Jansen. However, he draws confidence from a recent comeback in the English league, at the expense of leaders Arsenal.
Jansen: “The upcoming, possible champion in the Premier League was ahead 2-0 against West Ham and then in that match it also becomes 2-2. In soccer it is not out of the question that you score two goals and don’t concede anything more yourself. That would mean an extension tomorrow.”
Dash through Karlsson
AZ has already shown they are capable of a feat, Jansen thought. “We’ve had more games where you’re down 2-0 at halftime and you still get a good result. And we scored four goals over two games against Italy’s number two (Lazio, ed.).”
One thing is certain: AZ will have to do without star keeper Jesper Karlsson. The Swede, who scored two goals and provided four assists in the Conference League this season, has not yet recovered sufficiently from an upper leg injury.
Although he was a question mark for the first game against Anderlecht, Karlsson made an appearance in Brussels. Afterwards, it turned out that he still had complaints, so he also had to miss the league match with Fortuna Sittard last weekend.
“I don’t regret bringing him in last week,” Jansen said. “As far as the medical staff was concerned, it was justified. But when he came out of the game, the symptoms persisted and unfortunately it didn’t improve.”
“Jesper is an important player for us, but so not an option. I have full confidence in the guys who will take the field tomorrow to get the job done,” Jansen continued, before emphasizing one last time that AZ really believes a good result is possible.
“All belief is there. Not because we have to, but because we believe in it.”