Sunday 18 January at 14:30 hour - De Kuip, Rotterdam




FC Twente

Great match to start with, says Rutten

Feyenoord could have imagined easier opponents to kick off the start of the second half of the season than FC Twente. The Enschede team come to De Kuip on Sunday just three points and two places behind Fred Rutten’s side. The Feyenoord coach admitted on Friday that he is looking forward to seeing how the two match up. ‘It’s a must-win for both sides, which makes it a great game to start with.’

While well aware of FC Twente’s strengths, Rutten is sure his side can bring them on their knees on Sunday. ‘Twente has an established starting line-up that doesn’t lose too many games. There’s a reason why they are competing at the top of the table, as they did all last season. That said, I do think we are better, as the current table shows, and I feel it was also shown in this season’s previous meeting. We have to prove that again this weekend.’

Rutten feels the unavailability of Elvis Manu in the first Eredivisie game of 2015 is a ‘major setback’. It was announced on Friday morning that the striker would be sidelined for around six weeks after groin surgery. ‘It’s frustrating for Elvis more than anyone else, because he has made good progress this season. His absence is a loss for us too, but we have to get on with it.’

Other than the injury to Manu, Rutten expressed satisfaction with the winter break, which included an excellent week’s training camp in Dubai. ‘We were able to do a lot of good work there and a number of youth players also had the chance to get a taste of the first team. The intention is for them to train with us more often over the coming period. We have made good progress as a team since September and we want to continue advancing towards perfection.’

The winter break ends this weekend, but the transfer window remains open. Asked about possible comings and goings Rutten responded as follows. ‘At other clubs I’ve seen key players leave midway through the season. I’ve had bitter experience of that. Partly because of that I have told our technical director that I don’t really want to lose anyone. Otherwise, we will also keep our eye out for potential reinforcements. That fits with Feyenoord’s ambition to take a step up, although nothing is set in stone yet.’

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