Feyenoord ready for busy period
After a couple of weeks without a match, Feyenoord are preparing for a busy three-week period when the challenges will come thick and fast. The home fixture against Heracles Almelo this Saturday is the first, after which Fred Rutten and his men can look forward to three more Eredivisie matches and two games against HNK Rijeka in the Europa League.
The recent international break did not come at the best time for Feyenoord, who looked to be in fine fettle after three consecutive wins. Even so, Rutten feels his squad have had a good couple of weeks together. Speaking on Friday, the coach said: ‘Despite us missing a couple of lads due to national team commitments we were able to train in a big group. That’s nice for a coach, while lads like Luke Wilkshire and Colin Kazim-Richards, who joined the squad at a later stage in preseason have been able to enhance their fitness.’
Rutten used the training sessions not only to enable his players to improve their physical condition. He also focused on specifics, such as the final phase of an attack and finishing. ‘What I saw looked good. But that doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s only during games that you can see whether a certain process is included in the finishing phase. That’s why every player has to give 100% here if the team is to achieve the best possible result every week.’
The coach saw Sven van Beek return from international duty with the Dutch Under 21s with a thigh injury last week. As a result, the defender misses the Heracles match. Joris Mathijsen will take his place. ‘I don’t like having two left-footed players in central defence,’ admitted Rutten, ‘but I want to make the fewest possible changes to the team. Joris has been impressive in training sessions, so I don’t foresee any problems in that regard on Saturday. He is an incredible professional.’