Excelsior hard to beat, says Van Bronckhorst
Feyenoord wrap up the month of November with a trip across the city to Kralingen for the Rotterdam derby against Excelsior. Giovanni van Bronckhorst admitted on Friday afternoon that he is wary of Saturday’s opponents despite their modest means. ‘Excelsior are doing fantastic with the budget they have,’ said the head coach. ‘They have a very solid team that is difficult to beat.’
That’s certainly been proven in recent weeks, in which time Excelsior have lost only to Vitesse. Otherwise Fons Groenendijk’s side have beaten Roda JC and Willem II, as well as taking a point off both PSV and Heracles Almelo. ‘Excelsior have grown as a team after a faltering start to the season,’ Van Bronckhorst added. ‘Last season under Dijkhuizen they played good football and they have continued to do so this season under Groenendijk. They are a solid team with a compact style of play and a lot of pace up front. We will have to have an answer to that tomorrow.’
Switching focus to his own team, Van Bronckhorst knows that a win is a must if Feyenoord are to stay in the hunt at the top of the Eredivisie table. Last weekend saw them reclaim second place with a thumping win against FC Twente. ‘We want to be as high as possible at Feyenoord and in that regard the results have been good up till now,’ said the coach. ‘That’s partly down to how we work, by living from match to match. We know we have to perform every week. On Saturday again, the only thing that counts for is the win.’
As things stand it looks as though Van Bronckhorst will take a full squad over the river Maas to Rotterdam’s eastern suburbs. Marko Vejinovic missed Friday training due to illness, but the coach said he expects the midfielder to be available against Excelsior. Tonny Vilhena was on the sick list earlier in the week, but he was back on the training pitch on Friday.
‘We’ve scarcely had to make any changes due to injuries or suspensions recently,’ said Van Bronckhorst. ‘That’s great on the one hand for me as a coach, because the nucleus remains the same. The team is well established. But that does mean there are fewer opportunities for the players who don’t usually start and they have to wait for their chance.’