The day after the victory at Vitesse and two days before the game with FC Groningen (Sunday 16:45) the mood at the Friday press conference with Fons Groenendijk was excellent. The coach of ADO Den Haag first reported with a smile that Robert Zwinkels is going to renew his contract. And then he looked ahead.
Thanks to the three points at Thursday-evening, ADO Den Haag is in eighth place in the Eredivisie, with 31 points out of 22 matches. Groenendijk would not have dared to dream that when he started last year at the Cars Jeans Stadium. In one year, his team turned from a relegation candidate to a mid-table team. “A lot has happened, which is also reflected in the photo item I made with ADO TV,” says Groenendijk.
This is typical for the trainer. With ADO Den Haag, the decision-maker has put down something beautiful, but modesty is always a trump card with the Leiden born Groenendijk. “As a trainer you have to be lucky. The choices worked out well. If you win, it will turn, and off we go. The final sprint that kept us in the Eredivisie was fantastic and we continued to follow that road. The conclusion: the cooperation between me and the group is good. The team are also unyielding and have character. They go all out, as it also belongs to ADO Den Haag. But we are not just a ‘work team’: put the ten best goals of the Eredivisie in a row and maybe five of ADO Den Haag are present. We can play nice football, you know!”
It led to an eighth place so far. “If that remains the case, then you will eventually participate in the playoffs. In that respect, the pressure is less than last season. That is different at FC Groningen.” Groenendijk refers to Sunday’s opponent. “The pressure is full there. They normally play in the sub top of the league, but they have a hard time and are still far from safe. If we are mentally and physically good, we have a good chance of achieving a good result.”
In the run-up to Groningen away, the question is how fit Erik Falkenburg, Wilfried Kanon and Tyronne Ebuehi have come out of the game with Vitesse, but possibly the three can just play.