Rutten looking forward to a ‘great week’
With the international break over, the final run of games leading up to the end of the calendar year now begins. Feyenoord’s schedule is a challenging one, with five Eredivisie fixtures and the last two group ties in the Europa League. It all gets underway on Saturday with the home match against FC Dordrecht in the league. ‘A lot will be demanded of us both mentally and physically, but we have shown we can deal with it,’ said a bullish Fred Rutten a day before the match.
Three of the seven fixtures lined up between now and mid December are scheduled for the next eight days. FC Dordrecht will be followed at De Kuip by the Europa League match against FC Sevilla, ahead of next Sunday’s trip to Eindhoven to take on Eredivisie leaders PSV. ‘A great week,’ explained a beaming Rutten. ‘Since our last game in Arnhem I’m really looking forward to it, although we shouldn’t forget that the next match is the most important. It’s a cliché, but also a fact.’
Rutten is pleased that he has had a large group of players to work with in the run-up to the coming glut of fixtures. The squad was largely complete again after the return of the youth internationals on Monday. Full internationals Jordy Clasie, Kenneth Vermeer and Karim El Ahmadi were the last to return on Thursday. 'As a result, we’ve had a fairly normal and good week of training,’ said the coach, who is confident his side can do good things. ‘In our positional play and results we’ve made great strides in recent months. It’s important that our standards don’t slip.’
Saturday’s opponents FC Dordrecht are bottom of the pile in the Eredivisie at the moment, but Rutten knows that does not mean his side are in for an easy evening. The coach touched on Dordrecht’s match against Ajax a couple of weeks ago. ‘They stayed on their feet for a long time. Everyone expects us to win on Saturday. That’s absolutely our goal too, but that’s not the same as saying it will be a walk-over.’
Feyenoord will take the field on Saturday without Luke Wilkshire and Elvis Manu. Both are injured. Rutten hopes the duo will be available against Sevilla on Thursday. The same goes for Joris Mathijsen, who is coming back from a calf injury. Jordy Clasie is suspended against Dordrecht.