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Real escape with hope of progress

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By ESPN Staff

Eredivisie: Vertonghen angry over Ajax critics

Jan Vertonghen admits he finds criticism of Ajax's defence annoying. The Amsterdammers head into Saturday's game against Roda JC third in the embryonic Eredivisie table having conceded four goals in their opening two games.

Ajax conceded just 20 goals all season in finishing second last time around, while scoring a massive 106, and defensive midfielder Vertonghen thinks their critics should hold fire.

''Last year everyone was full of praise, but now after a few lesser games the defence has been called the Achilles heel,'' he told the club's official website. ''It can annoy me.''

Roda are also on four points after beating ADO Den Haag 3-1 last time out. Before that, on Friday, NEC Nijmegen have the chance to extend their impressive start to the season when they open up the weekend's action at Excelsior Rotterdam.

While Excelsior are on a high after beating Feyenoord in the Rotterdam derby, NEC are one of only two teams to take a 100% record into week three, having achieved an eye-catching 5-3 win at Willem II last weekend.

Bjorn Vleminckx scored a hat-trick in that game but even his achievements are put in the shade by Ola Toivonen. The Sweden striker has scored five goals in two league games for leaders PSV Eindhoven, who hammered De Graafschap last time out and host AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.

PSV could not reproduce their league form in Europe though - they slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Sibir Novosibirsk in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier, with Maza Rodriguez sent off.

AZ's preparations have been hampered by the departure of striker Moussa Dembele to Fulham. Life without the Belgium striker begins in the Europa League against FC Aktobe.

Also on Sunday, Feyenoord attempt to bounce back when they travel to Heracles Almelo, ADO go to VVV Venlo and FC Utrecht host pointless Willem II.

On Saturday, Heerenveen host NAC Breda, FC Groningen face De Graafschap and Vitesse Arnhem entertain FC Twente.

With coach Steve McClaren having departed to Wolfsburg, Twente have so far failed to recreate the form that brought them the title last year. Under new man Michel Preud'homme they have back-to-back goalless draws thus far.

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