High tension at Vitesse due to relegation worries: ‘Nerves come with it’
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Off the field, Vitesse has had a tumultuous period. For example, Russian owner Valeri Oyf and director Pascal van Wijk left. And there were major problems over the renewal of the lease with stadium Geldredome.
Inside the lines, things are already no better: with three games to go, Vitesse is still not safe in the premier league. Direct relegation is no longer possible, but the difference with the sixteenth spot – which obliges to play in the nacompetition – is only three points. Thus, after 34 seasons, premier league soccer in Arnhem could just end.
There is logically tension on those last matches, captain Matús Bero also admits to Omroep Gelderland: “It is never easy to win for a while. But not at all in this situation. Nerves come with it. We just have to make sure now that we keep our emotions under control in very emotional matches.”
Coach Phillip Cocu also notices that the tension is indeed there among the players. “They have been feeling that for a while, but now that we are almost at the end and the margins are still small, the players realize very well what we are playing for. That brings extra pressure. But you have to learn to deal with that.”
Some footing for everyone who cares about Vitesse is the on paper easy schedule against probably three teams that no longer play for anything except honor. Sunday afternoon at 12:15 awaits already relegated SC Cambuur. A week later, Vitesse receives the also unsalvageable FC Groningen.
In the last round of play, Vitesse will visit Feyenoord, which will most likely already have the championship by then. In addition, Vitesse has a better goal difference than rivals FC Volendam, FC Emmen and Excelsior.
So one win in the next three games could put Vitesse almost in safe harbor. “But I think six points is only really enough,” Bero said.
Yet again, the Slovakian is not too worried. “Of course avoiding relegation is very important to me. I think I am the one who has been playing here the longest. But it’s not that I can’t sleep because of the stress. It’s also still just soccer. There are more important things in life.”
“Of course I do try to convey my feelings to the other guys. I want them to also realize that we can’t relax now. Everyone has to put more emotion into the game now than otherwise. We have to be hungry to win Sunday, because we have everything to win.”
Cocu also says he is doing everything he can to bring this season with Vitesse to a successful conclusion. “I’m thinking a lot. I can’t turn that off. I am really working very hard and we are doing everything to make sure the players are ready on Sunday.”
“I am also continuously directing now, paying attention to a lot of small things, because it is in details that matches are decided,” said the 101-time Dutch international.
In doing so, Cocu, with experience as a player at big clubs such as PSV and FC Barcelona, tries to help the players. For example, he wants to take the focus off the end result. “If you are constantly concerned with having to win, you increase the pressure even more. We now focus mainly on how to go into the match.”