AZ Alkmaar coach Dick Advocaat insists there is nothing surprising in his team's recent form as they look to keep up the pressure at the top of the Eredivisie this weekend.
The former Holland boss took charge in October following the surprise decision to sack Gertjan Verbeek, and has steered the club up to fourth within three points of leaders Vitesse.
AZ are unbeaten under Advocaat, with three wins and two draws, and are expected to continue that run when they travel to basement side NEC Nijmegen on Sunday.
And the coach said he was always confident the players would perform well.
"AZ's current form does not surprise me," he told a press conference.
"From before I was appointed I saw something in this team otherwise I would not have started this job. The lads exude happiness and play with passion.
"Only against Feyenoord (on November 10) did we get an undeserved point, in our other matches we were just better than out opponents. We want to keep that going."
NEC have won just once all season and welcome AZ on the back of two successive defeats.
FC Twente kick-start the weekend's action with a visit to Roda JC on Friday night where a win would lift them to the top of the table.
The Enschede club are also three points behind Vitesse but with a superior goal difference, while Roda are looking to end a three-match winless run.
Vitesse have won their last three league fixtures, with struggling Cambuur Leeuwarden the club aiming to arrest that form on Sunday.
Second-placed Ajax will make the trip to ADO Den Haag on Sunday in the best of moods after beating the might of Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek.
It was a famous win for the Amsterdam side, who have two points to make up at the summit, but former player Johan Cruyff, an honorary member of the club's General Assembly, feels the proof of the pudding will come on Sunday.
"Next we will visit ADO Den Haag, where they will be put to the test again. On Sunday we'll see how good they really are," he told AD Sportwereld.
Also on Sunday, seventh meets eighth when Feyenoord take on PSV Eindhoven at De Kuip, while on Saturday, PEC Zwolle are at home to lowly RKC Waalwijk, NAC Breda take on FC Groningen, Heerenveen face Go Ahead Eagles and FC Utrecht travel to Heracles.