Eredivisie: Ajax captain Siem de Jong is eyeing a winning run for the champions

Siem de Jong: Eyeing a return to form for Ajax

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Ajax captain Siem de Jong has called on his side to embark on a winning run, starting on Saturday against Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie.

The Amsterdam club, who eased into the fourth round of the KNVB Beker on Tuesday with victory over ASWH, are second in the table, behind FC Twente on goal difference and also level on points with AZ Alkmaar in a desperately tight competition with just two points separating first and eighth.

The defending champions have drawn their previous two league games and on their last outing squandered what appeared to be a strong chance of three points with a goalless draw with RKC Waalwijk, who went to the bottom of the table despite the result.

While Ajax are four places ahead of Vitesse, they have just one more point than their visitors and De Jong knows victory is essential if they are to kick-start a run which can take them away from the pack.

He told the club's official website: "In the final phase of our game we are just not economical and sharp enough.

"Once we win games we get more shape and we get more confidence. So we simply need some wins in a row ."

Vitesse will be without former Ajax player Theo Janssen with a knee injury, while striker Wilfried Bony is now at Swansea, but De Jong believes they still pose a danger.

"They were good and they had in Wilfried Bony a target man.

"That will be slightly less, but they still have a good team."

Vitesse have been in mixed form of late with a win, draw and two losses in their last four games.

Leaders Twente will be looking to return to winning ways after they lost to struggling ADO Den Haag last time out when they host second bottom NEC Nijmegen.

AZ, the third of the trio on 19 points, also have a home game against ADO where they will look to reproduce their form from the KNVB Beker where they thrashed Achilles 29 7-0.

The other game on Saturday sees fourth-placed PSV Eindhoven, who will be looking to bounce back from their cup defeat by Roda JC on Wednesday, host PEC Zwolle.

Coach Philip Cocu had no excuses, although he called for his side to replicate their commitment, telling reporters: "The players kept going until the final whistle, showing drive and spirit, and we scored a consolation goal, but it was too little too late.

"The corners and free-kicks we took weren't effective enough. I think we had a record 25 corners, but we didn't pose a massive threat at set pieces.

"However, if we show the same drive on Saturday when we host PEC Zwolle, I feel we can pull off a good result."

Friday's match sees RKC Waalwijk up host mid-table NAC Breda.

On Sunday, FC Groningen host Roda, Go Ahead Eagles entertain Heracles Almelo, Feyenoord visit Cambur Leeuwarden and Heerenveen go to FC Utrecht.