Feyenoord brimming with confidence ahead of AZ
Feyenoord players and backroom staff arrived back home mid Friday afternoon in great spirits. The group spent the night in Genk after a fine win at Standard Liege before heading back to Rotterdam. But there was little time to celebrate an impressive achievement at topping their Europa League group. Feyenoord lock horns with fourth-placed AZ on Sunday afternoon at De Kuip.
Feyenoord will find out how well their international efforts have been rewarded, when the draw for the Europa League round of the last 32 is made at the beginning of next week. Fred Rutten’s team go into the hat as a seeded team and the coach immediately had to field questions about potential opponents. Questions he was not willing to entertain at Friday’s press conference. ‘We’ll wait and see what happens on Monday. It’s not important at the moment, because we are fully focused on this Sunday.’
Although Feyenoord have shown they are well able to put in a good performance after a Thursday Europa League tie, Rutten does not feel that can be taken for granted. ‘I’m always curious to see how we react. In that respect I feel our players are maturing all the time. It’s great to enjoy it for a while, as long as you quickly turn your minds to the next game.’
This time round, the next game is against AZ, the last side to visit De Kuip this year. Rutten praised the Alkmaar outfit, who are currently level on points with his side in the Eredivisie table. ‘They are on a good run, playing in a way that has been very successful for them recently. So AZ are definitely a team that have to be taken seriously.’
Feyenoord are on a good run themselves. Unbeaten in the league since 21 September, Fred Rutten’s men have won seven and drawn one of the last eight, scoring twenty and conceding just three in the process.