PSV's Jeremain Lens defends Erik Pieters after he injured his arm punching a window
PSV's Jeremain Lens has defended Erik Pieters after he injured his arm punching a window following his dismissal.
Last Updated: 25/01/13 11:31am
Pieters, making his return to action after nine months out, was furious over his red card midway through the second half of PSV's 3-1 home defeat against lowly PEC Zwolle and "lost self-control" - according to his club - on his way to the dressing room.
A PSV statement earlier this week confirmed the 24-year-old smashed the glass window and suffered damage to several areas of his underarm. He has since undergone surgery, with the club set to assess over the coming weeks how long he will take to recover.
"I'm more shocked by the way the media has reacted to this," Lens told De Telegraaf. "The boy showed a bit of emotion and that's part of football.
"We can now not even bother talking to a referee. Erik was back playing after a long rehabilitation, he got a red card and we were losing the match. I understand that he was a bit emotional, though his reaction was inexcusable."
Pieters held a press conference in Eindhoven on Monday to publicly apologise to his team-mates, but Lens insisted: "For me, Erik does not have to say sorry to us. He has been punished enough by the people around our team. It's just annoying that he will again be out of action for some time."
PSV will look to return to winning ways in the Eredivisie with victory at Heracles Almelo on Saturday.
Dick Advocaat's side surrendered top spot last weekend on the back of their surprise loss, although FC Twente were unable to fully capitalise - they only moved one point clear as they were held to a 0-0 home draw by RKC Waalwijk.
Champions Ajax were the big winners last weekend, thumping Feyenoord 3-0 in the Klassieker at the Amsterdam ArenA to move level on points with PSV.
Steve McClaren's Twente visit Rotterdam on Sunday to take on fourth-placed Feyenoord, while Ajax travel to fifth-spotted Vitesse Arnhem.
The weekend's action kicks off on Friday night, when AZ Alkmaar visit VVV-Venlo. AZ's 4-1 win over Vitesse last weekend lifted them to 11th and six points clear of second-bottom VVV, but coach Gertjan Verbeek wants more from his side.
Verbeek said at his pre-match press conference: "The gap between us and VVV is not so large, so the win is important for both teams."
PEC will look to build on their shock win over PSV with another three points at home to Heerenveen on Saturday. The teams head into the weekend locked together on 18 points from 19 games - only outside the drop zone by one point.
In other matches on Saturday, ADO Den Haag face relegation-threatened Roda JC and RKC Waalwijk take on struggling NAC Breda.
Also on Sunday, sixth-placed FC Utrecht tackle bottom-placed Willem II and Europa League hopefuls NEC Nijmegen host FC Groningen.