Squad at full strength for visit of Ajax
The Feyenoord squad is fit and raring to go ahead of Sunday’s big match at home to Ajax. During his press conference at De Kuip on Friday coach Ronald Koeman confirmed that his squad is at full strength. It was a clear response to questions about player fitness in the media. ‘Tests actually show that we are fantastically fit,’ said a bullish Koeman. And if we were training too hard we would have muscle injuries, but I have all twenty outfield players and three keepers available to me for Sunday’s match.’
Team fitness was queried last week, when Feyenoord surrendered a lead late on at FC Twente. Koeman, though, feels that other factors may be at the root of the problem. ‘It might also be a question of quality. Generally, too often this season we’ve given our opponents the feeling that they can get something off us in the final stages of matches. That’s asking for trouble.’
There is, of course, always a lot at stake when Feyenoord meet Ajax, but this year Feyenoord are not only playing for their honour. There’s also plenty to play for at the top of the table. The Amsterdammers have a nine-point lead over Feyenoord with nine games to play, so a home win is vital on Sunday.
‘This is an important match, but it’s no more important that last week’s was or next week’s will be,’ Koeman posited. ‘We want to stay in contention at the top of the table. We are preparing for this match in the same way we prepare for all our matches, although you are constantly reminded that this is Feyenoord versus Ajax. It’s special, as it will also be special for Ajax.’
A final training session is planned at De Kuip the day before the match and fans are welcome to attend. Entrances will be open on the yellow side of the stadium. ‘We realise we can make our supporters happy on Sunday,’ Koeman acknowledged. ‘We know what’s at stake.’