Van Bronckhorst: ‘The cup is an important trophy’
The chance to move a step closer to European football in a sold-out stadium against strong opponents: all the ingredients are there to suggest that Thursday’s KNVB Cup tie at De Kuip will be a great occasion. Giovanni van Bronckhorst is certainly looking forward to Feyenoord’s first cup tie of the season against PEC Zwolle. ‘The cup is an important trophy for us, let there be no misunderstandings about that.’
It’s a trophy that also comes with a guaranteed place in the group stage of the Europa League. So it’s not surprising that Feyenoord are taking the match very seriously. ‘We are approaching this cup tie like any other match,’ Van Bronckhorst stressed on Wednesday afternoon. The head coach sees no reason to make too many changes to his side. ‘I am going for the team I feel gives us the best chance of advancing to the next round.’
Van Bronckhorst was keen to point out that experimentation is probably not the best policy against opponents of PEC Zwolle’s calibre. The club won the KNVB Cup in 2014 and made it all the way to the final again last season. PEC have started well this season, too. Rob Jans’ unbeaten side are a point and a place better off than Feyenoord after six Eredivisie matches.
The Feyenoord coach also feels that meeting tricky opponents so early in the tournament is no bad thing. ‘PEC have started the season well, so a confident team will come to De Kuip on Thursday. But we are not afraid of anyone, especially not at home. The stadium is sold out, which means that we will be going all out for the win with the crowd behind us.’
Feyenoord will start their cup campaign with almost a full squad. Van Bronckhorst is missing only Rodny Lopes Cabral and Stef Gronsveld, both of whom have long-term injuries.