‘We need someone like Immers,’ says Rutten
Fred Rutten is delighted to be able to welcome Lex Immers back to his squad. The coach expects the midfielder to be available for the game against FC Groningen on Sunday after missing last weekend’s home loss to Go Ahead Eagles (0-1) due to a knee injury. ‘This Feyenoord needs someone like Lex,’ said Rutten at the Friday press conference.
The coach feels that it’s no coincidence that Feyenoord have had a couple of disappointing results when Immers was not available. ‘Whether he plays makes a big difference for us. Lex has come on leaps and bounds on the pitch and he has a natural ability to push on, to fight and to help others. I have put a lot of confidence in him from day one. After a rather difficult start, when Lex returned from an injury, Lex not playing has become inconceivable.’
With Immers in the frame, Feyenoord are targeting a positive result in Groningen to flush away the negative feelings after the loss to Go Ahead Eagles. ‘That defeat really hurt a lot,’ admitted Rutten. ‘I needed more time than usual to get over that game.’
Rutten noted that his side not only found it hard to create chances against Go Ahead Eagles, but also to finish them when they did arrive. ‘We rushed ourselves in the final stage of our attacks. On the other hand, I know for certain that if we had got one goal, we would have got a few.’
The defeat to Go Ahead Eagles leaves Feyenoord with a slender four-point lead over fourth-placed Vitesse, with the two sides set to lock horns at De Kuip on the penultimate Sunday of the season. With that in mind, Feyenoord cannot afford too many slipups from here on in. ‘We know that, but pressure is part and parcel of this club,’ explained Rutten. ‘In that sense the next few games are no different. At the same time we know that Groningen also want to win, to get as close as possible to the play-off places. I don’t believe they already have half an eye on the cup final.’
It is not certain whether Rutten will be able to call on Terence Kongolo on Sunday. ‘He’s not tip-top,’ said the coach on Friday. If Kongolo is ruled out, he will most likely be replaced by Joris Mathijsen.