Sunday 24 August at 14:30 hour - De Kuip, Rotterdam




FC Utrecht

League business back on the agenda

The playing and backroom staff touched down at Schiphol at around half past three on Friday morning on a flight from Kyiv, where Feyenoord earned a 1-1 draw against FC Zorya Luhansk. After a short night in a hotel the squad arrived back at De Kuip in the early afternoon ready to get back to work ahead of Sunday’s Eredivisie match at home to FC Utrecht. ‘That should not give us any problems physically,’ said coach Fred Rutten shortly after arriving at the stadium. ‘First and foremost, it’s about us getting mentally ready for Sunday.’

League business back on the agenda
“‘First and foremost, it’s about us getting mentally ready for Sunday.’”
Fred Rutten

With that in mind, it was obviously pleasing to return from the Ukrainian capital with hopes of a place in the Europa League group stage still very much in tact. Feyenoord had a couple of huge chances to win the match at the Valeri Lobanovksyi Dynamo Stadium, but a 1-1 draw looks to be a good springboard for the Rotterdammers with the home leg to come. ‘It’s a pity we didn’t strike right at the end,’ admitted Rutten. ‘Then again, we knew there would be opportunities for us in the final stages, which proved to be right.’
Feyenoord have a meagre two days to prepare for FC Utrecht after the Kyiv trip, but Rutten did not see any use in dwelling on that. ‘It’s something the players have to learn to cope with. Some of them are experienced and used to it already, but it’s something new especially for the young lads. In that respect this trip has been a very good experience that will help their development. Hopefully we’ll continue to have several matches every week for as long as possible this season. We have to empty our heads by Sunday, because Utrecht are awaiting us. A team with momentum, especially due to the arrival of a new coach and a number of new players.’
Erwin Mulder was also unwilling to make an issue of the short recovery time. ‘This is what you have to deal with if you want to play in Europe. I like playing as many matches as possible so I’m looking forward to the FC Utrecht match,’ said the keeper, who can look back on a good performance in Kyiv. Mulder was called upon a couple of times in a tough second-half spell and he responded with some fine saves. ‘It’s always great to be of value to the team. Looking at the match as a whole we created the best chances. It’s a pity that we only converted one of them, but happily we will play the decisive return in front of our own supporters.’
Feyenoord are looking for their first home win of the new campaign in the league on Sunday, after being held by sc Heerenveen last weekend. ‘Having a long journey behind us and only having a short while to prepare cannot be used as an excuse,’ said Terence Kongolo. ‘We have enough time over the next few days to analyse FC Utrecht as opponents. We have to be fully focused on Sunday to be able to get a good result.’

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