McClaren pleased with Twente reaction
FC Twente manager Steve McClaren has said he was impressed by the mentality of his players following their resounding victory over Eredivisie title rivals PSV Eindhoven last weekend.
Twente kept up their league title bid when they thrashed PSV 6-2 despite being reduced to ten men for most of the second half. The win pushed them above PSV and into second place in the league standings, and maintained the one-point gap to leaders AZ Alkmaar.
McClaren's men will return to Eredivisie action against NEC Nijmegen on Sunday after facing Bundesliga side Schalke in their UEFA Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday, and McClaren is hoping his players will again impress him in the coming days.
"The PSV game taught me something about the mentality of the players and how they kept their feet on the ground after the result," McClaren said. "I am curious about their reaction. We had 24 hours enjoying our success against PSV, but by Tuesday it was gone, forgotten."
Like McClaren's side, leaders AZ return to domestic action on Sunday following a Europa League tie against Udinese, and will take on a De Graafschap side who are firmly entrenched in the relegation zone. Third-placed PSV also head into the weekend's fixture on the back of involvement in European competition and will play NAC Breda.
Vitesse Arnhem coach Marco van den Brom believes Saturday's clash against FC Groningen could go a long way in securing a play-off place for his side. Vitesse are currently three points above Groningen in the table, with the two sides filling the last play-off spots behind Heerenveen in fifth and sixth-placed Feyenoord.
However, with RKC Waalwijk and Roda JC just a point off the top eight, Van den Brom knows a result against his side's nearest rivals is crucial. "This game can be a very important step in the hunt for the play-offs as you are playing away against a direct competitor," Van den Brom said.
"My feeling is that the balance in the team against a team like Grongingen is better not to approach it with too much attacking play. It is our goal to reach the play-offs."
Elsewhere, Roda were given a boost ahead of Friday's match against strugglers VVV-Venlo after Sanharib Malki committed himself to two more seasons at the club. The Syrian striker had a get-out-clause removed from his contract meaning he will stay at the club until the middle of 2014.
In the other games this weekend, Heracles Almelo host ADO Den Haag and Heerenveen play Excelsior on Saturday, while fourth-placed Ajax host RKC Waalwijk and Feyenoord take on FC Utrecht on Sunday.