Koeman out to give fans a treat
Feyenoord play their third game in nine days on Saturday evening when they welcome N.E.C. to De Kuip. The results in the first few weeks after the winter break have been variable, but the Rotterdammers are still in the race for the top positions in the Eredivisie. Ronald Koeman’s men can stay in touch by securing their first home win of 2014 and if they can put in a good performance to boot, so much the better. ‘We really want to give the fans a treat,’ said the coach on Friday.
Saturday’s opponents have been rooted in the bottom two for most of this season, but Koeman does not want to get too fixated on the standings. ‘I was there to see N.E.C. against Vitesse and I felt they were very strong. And they’re unbeaten in 2014. Also, I can still remember this season’s away fixture very well (3-3, ed.), for us it was certainly not a pleasant afternoon. So it’s definitely not the case that we look at the table and conclude that there’s an easy match coming up.’
Feyenoord know better than to underestimate their opponents after Tuesday’s tough second half against low-lying Roda JC Kerkrade. Koeman’s side should have had the game wrapped up by the break after a strong first 45 minutes only to seriously drop off the pace in the second half. ‘Our performance deteriorates too much during matches,’ the coach continued. ‘We are working hard to get more consistency into our performances. We can achieve that particularly by doing what we do well and performing below what’s acceptable less often.’
After the Kerkrade fixture Koeman was quick to identify his side’s tactical discipline as an area that needs a lot of work. The coach feels there’s a lot of room for improvement. ‘It also has to do with how players read the game, something that is hard to learn, unlike technique for instance. Some find it more difficult than others. We are trying to make progress in tactical terms by talking a lot and showing footage.’
Koeman will once more be able to call upon Ruben Schaken against N.E.C. The attacker has recovered from a neck problem and returns to the match-day squad. Joris Mathijsen (eye), Ruud Vormer (groin), Kostas Lamprou (ankle) and Bruno Martins Indi (suspended) on the other hand are not available.