For AZ coach Jansen, duel with West Ham is extra special: ‘Feels familiar’
AZ coach Jansen back on London birthplace: ‘Feels familiar’
For AZ coach Pascal Jansen, Thursday’s away match against West Ham United, in the Conference League semifinals, is not only special in sporting terms. He is playing with his team in London, the city where he was born 50 years ago. “It feels familiar,” he said.
Jansen was born in 1972 to Hans Jansen and British singer Sue Chaloner. She wanted her son to be born in England. Although Jansen grew up in the Netherlands, he continues to have a special bond with the country where he was born. This is partly because of the vacations he experienced there and the friends he made on British soil.
At a press conference today, Jansen stressed several times that it feels like coming home. This is due, for example, to the English language he now hears constantly around him. Anyone hearing Jansen at the press conference did realize that English is not a foreign language to him. Some questions were answered in fluent English.
All-round view of opponent
Jansen was already in London on Sunday, as he wanted to see West Ham United in action against Manchester United. Jansen saw West Ham record a 1-0 victory over Erik ten Hag’s team. “I’m glad I saw that match. I now have an all-round picture of the opponent.”
Jansen not afraid of West Ham, but sees quality of opponent: ‘Lots of power’
The coach has also seen West Ham United play lesser games this season. The team from East London is currently in fifteenth place in the Premier League and is having a lesser season domestically. Last year, the team finished seventh in the league.
Nevertheless, AZ will have a tough time against the English, if only because of expensive star players like Declan Rice, Lucas Paquetá and Jarrod Bowen. Also, the English league cannot be compared to the Dutch premier league.
Jansen also observed the difference between the Dutch and English leagues on Sunday. He found that West Ham and Manchester United made it a physically intense match. According to Jansen, West Ham has “a lot of power.”
Nevertheless, Jansen does not think his team is hopeless. He assumes “own strength,” but hopes his team will not come out “naive” in front.
AZ will have to do it tomorrow without suspended left back Milos Kerkez and injured left winger Jesper Karlsson. “We are stronger when they are there, but I have every confidence in the guys who are going to do it tomorrow,” he said.