Feyenoord hunting first league win at De Kuip
Thursday’s 2-1 win over Standard Liege in Group G of the Europa League released a lot of positive emotions at De Kuip, but the Feyenoord squad and staff have had precious little time to enjoy the feeling. A day later they reconvened to work towards Sunday’s home match against FC Groningen, with Feyenoord targeting another home win, their first in the league this season. ‘The league is certainly as important to us as Thursday’s European tie,’ said coach Fred Rutten on Friday afternoon. ‘We have to take all three points at home.’
In that respect the victory against Standard Liege gave the team a confidence boost. ‘I’m especially satisfied that the team has shown in a series of matches that it has the power to take control in a match,’ said Rutten. ‘You also see that the team is getting used to each other and our positional play in front of goal is getting better. We will continue to play 4-3-3 as a starting point; we want to improve that. We can fine-tune depending on any weaknesses that opponents might have.’
Rutten’s Friday press conference came not long after national coach Guus Hiddink announced his latest Dutch squad for the matches against Kazakhstan and Iceland. Jordy Clasie was the only Feyenoord player on Hiddink’s list, which meant there was no place for Sven van Beek, who was in the provisional squad.
‘As a coach you obviously hope that your players will be selected, because it’s good for their development,’ said Rutten. ‘But more than anything it’s good that Sven was under consideration. I cannot be dissatisfied with his development, considering he’s only played around twenty matches in Feyenoord’s first team. For him the main thing is gaining experience. I’m happy that Joris Mathijsen and Khalid Boulahrouz are helping him and are able to teach him the ropes.’
Rutten will have to do without Boulahrouz on Sunday again as the defender is still working his way back from injury. He may make an appearance for Feyenoord/Excelsior against ADO Den Haag in a development squad fixture on Monday. ‘We’re looking at that from day to day,’ said Rutten, who anticipates that Lex Immers will be available for selection against FC Groningen despite leaving the field of the play with a quarter of an hour left on the clock against Standard due to a hamstring problem.