Thursday 19 February at 19:00 hour

Europa League

AS Roma



We need to play our own game against AS Roma, says Rutten

Despite a recent run of inconsistent performances, Fred Rutten is confident his side can get a good result in Rome on Thursday. The coach bases his conviction largely on what he’s seen in training over the last week. ‘When I note how the team has performed after the defeat to Heracles, I am not concerned at all,’ said Rutten at the press conference ahead of the Europa League round of 32 first leg in the Italian capital. ‘You always have one game like last Saturday’s during a season. Apart from that, a European tie is completely different from a league game, a completely different experience. We’ve shown that, too, in the past.’

Feyenoord aware of AS Roma's strengths

Both Jean-Paul van Gastel and Giovanni van Bronckhorst have scouted AS Roma recently, and plenty of videos have been closely scrutinised. ‘There’s a reason why AS Roma are currently second in the Italian Serie A,’ said Rutten. ‘Dutch sides often get the impression that they are very good against Italian sides. We have to be watchful of that, because that’s exactly when your opponents strike.’

Despite their high position, the Italians have hit some patchy league form themselves recently. Last Sunday’s draw with bottom side Parma was the fifth in a row in Serie A. ‘But things can change fast, especially with Italian sides,’ said Jordy Clasie, who sat alongside his coach at the press conference. ‘AS Roma are simply very strong opponents. I think it is the biggest and best club we could have drawn.’

Feyenoord looking to do the groundwork

Rutten was in any case happy to travel to Rome for the first leg. ‘We have to look to put ourselves in a good position. What that is? We have to score at least one. In that regard, we will try to play our own game as much as possible. The advantage is that we have a team that can play good football, but also play in a way that opponents really don’t like.’

Feyenoord will be backed by about 5000 fans at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Thursday. Rutten could not supress a big smile when asked what this says about Feyenoord. ‘It says that Feyenoord is a real club of the people and people love being able to experience this again after ten years,’ explained Rutten, referring to Feyenoord’s decade without advancing to the knockout rounds of a European competition. ‘That’s a big thing for the players and the fans. It says that Feyenoord is a big club.’

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