Resignation and resignation prevailed at Euroborg on Friday night after the defeat against FC Utrecht, but coach Dennis van der Ree sees this as an opportunity to turn the tide.
“Perhaps this resignation is precisely the solution for us,” the coach philosophizes aloud, who is under strong pressure. “The last straw. Maybe we can loosen the tension a bit because of that resignation, because I saw before the game against FC Utrecht that several players suffered from this. When that pressure goes away, it is possible that we can do something from an unexpected angle in the next few weeks “.
Van der Ree has enough clues. I hold on to the fact that the players can bring more energy, because that wasn’t enough against FC Utrecht. I have seen that there is more to it in other games. They shouldn’t be so anxious. I see our team as a boxer who has been knocked out, gets a count of ten, still recovers, and really has nothing to lose. Then he can only swing a little, so he can still hit the opponent by chance. That is what we have to do in the coming weeks. Save what can be saved.”
Van der Ree does not want to look too far and is certainly not yet busy with the calculations as to which game the curtain may fall on FC Groningen in the top league. In early May against Go Ahead Eagles it may already be over. “I haven’t thought about that for a second. I was at my best for the game against FC Utrecht, I was convinced that we would take all three points. That didn’t happen and that’s too bad, but it’s the only thing I’ve been working on for the last week. Certainly not with the games that are scheduled for the next few weeks. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.”
Against FC Utrecht it also surfaced again that FC Groningen simply does not have the quality to be able to make a fist in the top league this season. Van der Ree also recognizes it. “We are definitely missing something. Look, Ricardo Pepi is a good forward, but there is no one around him who plays a man and gives a cross. There is very little supply. Pepi has only scored one header this season, and that is one of his qualities. That says something. There is also a lack of quality in the back. Sometimes it is almost childish how we achieve the objectives”.
However, Van der Ree refuses to accept the fate that now seems inevitable. “I am not discouraged, although it is annoying that things are going the way they are. Even so, I did not see a team in the locker room that was relegated. In fact, that is not the case. So we can give up, but I don’t think a Groninger will throw in the towel so quickly. Obviously everyone is very disappointed, but it’s also still a team that worked together and is trying to find an answer to the question of how things can be improved. There are still six games and eighteen points to distribute.”
100 years older
The coach seems to be getting worse every week. A reporter for RTV Utrecht, who has followed Van der Ree since he was a player, noted that the coach has aged 100 years in just a few months. “It is difficult and it is getting more and more difficult. Of course it means a lot to me personally that this is the case, but that applies to everyone within the club. That’s still no reason to give up.”
So dating yourself is not something that happens in Van der Ree’s dictionary. I’m not busy with that, I’m concentrating on the matches and I’m not thinking about things like that. I do everything I can and put all the energy I have into me. I see the group doing that too. While there is hope, there is life.
Van der Ree still has no regrets saying yes to the vacant coaching job at FC Groningen at the end of last year. Sometimes I wonder if this period is good for my career in the long term, but I didn’t think about that at the time. They asked me to help FC Groningen. I did it and I don’t regret it. I stood behind it then and said yes. So I’m not going to say it was a wrong decision.”