Everyone works for each other in this team, says Rutten
Last Sunday’s 1-0 win at SC Cambuur propelled Feyenoord five places up the table to third after ten Eredivisie match days. A stingy defence has certainly played its part in the good return this season, with Feyenoord conceding just seven league goals since the campaign kicked off in The Hague on 10 August.
It’s a statistic that Feyenoord’s head coach admitted to being delighted with on Friday, when he met the press at De Kuip ahead of Saturday evening’s home match against PEC Zwolle. ‘That we have conceded so few goals is down to the whole team,’ said Rutten. ‘They all work for each other. We attack as eleven and we defend as eleven. If a player makes a mistake, someone else is there to put it right.’
But while the defence has been tight this season, the attack has not managed to find the net too often, with just fifteen goals in those ten matches. By way of comparison, table-toppers PSV have scored twice as many. ‘I’m not worried about that, though,’ explained Rutten. ‘I would only start worrying if we were not creating chances at all.’
In fact, Rutten feels his team are starting to hit their stride after a false start. ‘At the beginning of the season I said the season would only properly get underway for us on 1 September (after the transfer window closed, ed.). If you look at it like that, we have only been going for about seven weeks. I’ve seen a lot of potential, growth and willingness in that period. The match against PEC Zwolle is a great opportunity for us to show that we are making strides.’
Saturday’s match is also a good test that will give Rutten valuable information on how far along his team is. ‘I still find it hard to gauge,’ the coach acknowledged. ‘We cannot let PEC surprise us. They have shown they are able to peak at the right time. PEC play a very good positional game if you give them enough space. So it’s down to us to make sure that doesn’t happen.’