Stewart denies AZ revolt rumours

AZ director of football Earnie Stewart insists a dressing room revolt was not behind the surprise departure of coach Gertjan Verbeek just hours after he had masterminded a victory over Eredivisie leader PSV Eindhoven.

In a statement released on Sunday morning, the AZ board pointed to a 'lack of chemistry' between the coach and his squad as the reason for his sudden exit.

The previous evening Verbeek had been celebrating a 2-1 win over PSV which took AZ to fourth place in the Eredivisie standings, but that was not sufficient to spare the 51-year-old the axe.

Stewart insisted the decision to dispense with Verbeek came solely from the boardroom.

"There has been no request from the players," he told a press conference.

"We have received multiple signals from within the organisation that the chemistry was disrupted between the players and the coach, which meant we unfortunately had to make this decision.

"We have not taken this decision lightly overnight. This played out over a long time, because a lack of chemistry is a lengthy process.

"We looked around how things went and came to the conclusion that the co-operation was very difficult. The trust was harmed.

"This process has been exacerbated in recent weeks, the players and the coach did not grow closer together."

Stewart's words echoed the official club statement which confirmed Verbeek's departure.

"Coach Gertjan Verbeek leaves AZ with immediate effect," it read.

"Based on a lack of chemistry between players and the head coach resulting in a lack of confidence, the management and supervisory board sees no more basis for further co-operation."

Verbeek joined AZ in 2010 and signed a contract extension through to 2015 just last northern summer.

He secured European qualification in each of his three full seasons at the club - twice after finishing in fourth place in the league and again by winning the KNVB Beker last season.

AZ captain Maarten Martens was reluctant to give his full backing to Verbeek's exit but did indicate that there had been some tension in the camp.

"It is very difficult to say whether the dismissal is justified," Martens said.

"There are many objectives met by this trainer in recent years, but certain things were not as smooth as everyone wanted.

"The squad also felt on Saturday that something was going on. It is amazing that we still won against PSV. However, this club looks beyond results."

Martens revealed he searched out Verbeek in his office after news of his sacking was confirmed.

"I shook his hand. He responded in a good way. He said clearly that if there is not enough trust within the organisation, something must be done. I thanked him for the past few years."

Father-and-son duo Martin and Dennis Haar, long-term members of the AZ backroom staff, will take charge of the team for Thursday evening's (Friday morning AEST) UEFA Europa League tie with PAOK, although Stewart confirmed they are not viewed as a long-term solution.

"For the moment Martin and Dennis Haar [will take charge]. However, they do not have the required papers, so it will not be like that for the whole season," he said.

"We are not concerned with the appointment of a new head coach. That would not be respectful. It was very difficult to make this decision."

Source: PRESS ASSOCIATION