Verbeek: ‘Must be at our best’

Published on 04 april 12, 00:00
VALENCIA- On Wednesday night, Gertjan Verbeek and Brett Holman previewed Thursday’s Europa League quarter final clash with Valencia. The AZ coach did not lack confidence at the pre-match conference in the Mestalla pressroom. “I am never scared.”

When asked by the Spanish press if he knew that Valencia coach Unai Emery would be sacked if his team does not progress to the semi-finals, Verbeek was apparently not too impressed, when he replied: “Really?”

It soon became clear that there is plenty of speculation surrounding Emery’s job. Verbeek was full of praise for Thursday’s opponents: “Valencia are a good, skilful side who play an attractive, offensive style of football. They’ve had a good run in the league but the past few weeks the hectic schedule of matches has taken its toll on their players.”

“We expect Valencia to go all out from the first whistle”, continued Verbeek. “They will give their all to reach the semi-finals. They are generally regarded as one of the favourites to win the tournament. We will fight to the end but realise we will have to be at our best to progress to the next round.”

Verbeek: “Whether I am scared to face Valencia after PSV suffered defeat here at Mestalla? Not at all. I am never scared. It’s just not in my nature. There will undoubtedly be an electric atmosphere in the packed stadium, but when I watched television I mainly saw fans waving white handkerchiefs.”

Roy Beerens has shaken off a rib injury and has been recalled to the squad. Verbeek: “Whether he will be handed a start? That’s for me to know and for you to find out!”

Holman: ‘No reason to be intimidated’
Holman was asked if the passion and atmosphere in the imposing Mestalla would work in Valencia’s favour: “I’ve played in imposing stadiums before, so there is no reason to be intimidated. It’s nice to play and the lads are just as enthusiastic. Many of them have gained experience on the international stages, so we are not scared of Mestalla.”