Clasie buoyed but on his guard
After starting the big first week of the second half of the season on Sunday with a convincing win at FC Utrecht, Feyenoord now look forward to the second hurdle: a KNVB Cup quarterfinal at traditional rivals Ajax. That said, the squad is fully aware that the weekend’s five-goal show has no bearing on Wednesday’s tie, an opinion expressed by Jordy Clasie on Tuesday morning. ‘We played well on Sunday but that match doesn’t matter anymore now. It’s up to us to take the confidence and guts from that match with us to Amsterdam.’
Feyenoord could kill two birds with one stone in the Amsterdam Arena, because on paper Ajax are the strongest team left in the competition. ‘The winner of this tie will probably be favourites to win the cup, but you can never take anything for granted. For us, if we want to win this tournament we have to be able to beat anyone.’
Clasie certainly knows how strong Wednesday’s opponents are. ‘Ajax have played a refined style for football for a number of years now, which is a compliment to their coach. On the other hand, we have to focus on ourselves. We have to play well as a team and certainly defensively we mustn’t let them have too much space. If we also play our own game and can reproduce what we did on Sunday, we can win there.’
It would be Clasie’s first away victory at Ajax as a member of Feyenoord’s first team. ‘I’ve not managed it yet, but that will hopefully change now. Not playing this match at home makes a lot of difference, because at De Kuip we always have 50,000 fans backing us up and screaming us on. It’s up to us to perform in an away match too now. We all want to do that very much, not least because we are desperate to win a trophy with Feyenoord.’
Stefan de Vrij is unavailable for selection against the league leaders due to suspension, while Ruud Vormer continues to be ruled out as he battles to recover from a groin problem.