Van Bronckhorst in determined mood ahead of Ajax
Giovanni van Bronckhorst showed he was a satisfied man on Friday afternoon when he noted that Marko Vejinovic had become the latest international at Feyenoord. The head coach described the midfielder’s first Oranje call-up as good for the club, bur especially good for Vejinovic himself. ‘The selection gives Marko confidence,’ said Van Bronckhorst. ‘He has a lot of footballing ability, he can run the game. He has done that brilliantly for us in a couple of matches. The national coach sees his qualities too. I’m happy about that, first and foremost for Marko.’
During the press conference Van Bronckhorst was asked about how he planned to use Vejinovic against Ajax, after the coach opted for Tonny Wilhena in last week’s cup win over the Amsterdam outfit. Two days before the rematch Van Bronckhorst was cagey about his starting eleven. ‘But I have no doubts. I’m looking at all the options in the squad. It’ll become clear on Sunday who plays against Ajax.’
Feyenoord’s technical staff drew lessons from that recent cup win in their preparations for Sunday’s match. The match footage has been on heavy rotation at De Kuip. ‘What’s striking is that in the first 15 minutes we were missing the flair we normally show in home matches,’ said Van Bronckhorst. ‘Without creating real big chances the second half was ours. We defended farther away from our goal, created pressure and got our tackles in.’
While Feyenoord have had the whole week to work towards Sunday’s showdown, Ajax had a tough Europa League match against Fenerbahçe on Thursday. The Turkish side were especially dangerous in the latter stages. ‘Ajax were unable to impose themselves late on against us, the same thing happened on Thursday evening,’ explained Van Bronckhorst. ‘Not playing European football means you have a bit more energy towards the end. It is an advantage, but Ajax will come here to play their own game. It’s up to us to stop them and leave the pitch at the end as victors.
Van Bronckhorst was not in the mood to entertain the idea that any extra pressure has been heaped on his side after the loss to ADO Den Haag opened up a three-point lead in the Eredivisie for Sunday’s visitors. ‘There’s always pressure at Feyenoord, especially when we have to play Ajax,’ said the coach. ‘The side will have to respond to the disappointment in The Hague. There’s no better opportunity to do so than at home to Ajax.’