Feyenoord prepare to kick for home
Feyenoord are readying themselves for the last few matches ahead of the winter break and the end of 2013. FC Groningen and PEC Zwolle visit De Kuip in the final two Eredivisie fixtures, with a trip to Almelo to take on Heracles for a place in the quarter final of the KNVB Cup sandwiched in between. Two days before the first of those three games, Sunday’s match against FC Groningen, Ronald Koeman made it clear that his team are looking to round off the first half of the season on a positive note. ‘We are very confident right now that we can kick for home.’
The coach says that the results over the next week must back up the claim that Feyenoord have shown more consistency lately. ‘There’s a good feeling after the wins against sc Heerenveen and PSV. But you can only start talking about more consistency in our performances if we continue on the same track over the next few matches. And the feeling we’ll have going into the Christmas holidays largely depends on results.’
That said, when talking about recent matches Koeman didn’t get stuck solely on results. The coach expressed his delight at how his team have performed both home and away. ‘Our football is improving all the time,’ said a satisfied Koeman. ‘We played to our strengths against sc Heerenveen and PSV, staying strongly focused with a lot of aggression. When we do that we’re good and we have a very decent chance of winning.’
Feyenoord will certainly need to be in the right frame of mind on Sunday against a FC Groningen that is performing very well this season. The club where Koeman started his professional playing career is firmly ensconced in fifth place in the league. ‘No one rolls Groningen over. As a team they put a lot of effort into pressing their opponents at the earliest opportunity. They also have a number of players with special qualities, like Filip Kostic, who is great at free kicks and corners.’
Koeman also used the press conference at De Kuip to give a pat on the back to Sven van Beek. The young defender had a good game in Heerenveen when he was called upon to replace the sick Stefan de Vrij. ‘Sven is developing nicely. He knows what he’s good at, which is impressive for a lad of his age,’ said Koeman, ending with a smile. ‘A lot of people might think he’s a somewhat straightforward defender, but I always say: “Keep it simple, pass with flying colours”.’
Miquel Nelom and Samuel Armenteros both miss Sunday’s match with long-term injuries. Armenteros did train with the squad on Friday, but still has a way to go in before he is available for selection after a foot injury.