Sunday 6 April at 14:30 hour - De Kuip, Rotterdam




RKC Waalwijk

Feyenoord's destiny in own hands

With four Eredivisie matches left to play Feyenoord are in pole position to achieve the goal of qualifying for Europe directly. ‘To do that we need two more wins, then we’ll probably escape the play-offs,’ said coach Ronald Koeman ahead of Sunday’s home match against RKC Waalwijk. ‘But we are obviously going for the best we can achieve, which is second place. If we remain focused and are able to continue our good run of recent weeks, we have a good chance of finishing second.’

Feyenoord's destiny in own hands

Feyenoord good position in the league is in part down to a run of four wins on the bounce. Wednesday’s victory at Heracles Almelo opened the gap to third-placed FC Twente to four points. ‘Our performance levels against Heracles were clearly lower than in the previous three matches,’ admits Koeman, ‘but the squad has generally done well in recent matches.’

In doing so, Feyenoord have shown that they are not over-reliant on Graziano Pellè’s goals, as some critics have claimed. ‘People declared that we would be nothing without Pelllè,’ said Koeman. ‘The squad have shown that we are good without him too, if our focus, concentration and sharpness are good. But we’re always stronger with Pellè, of course.’

Pellè is available for selection on Sunday for the first time since the home match against Ajax on 2 March. The striker has now served out his four-match ban. ‘Graziano has shown a great attitude during his suspension,’ said Koeman. ‘He has trained well and he has been occupied with the squad behind closed doors. He’s also tried to help Mitchell Te Vrede as much as possible by sharing his experience.’

The home fixture against RKC pits Ronald Koeman against his brother Erwin, who is head coach in Waalwijk. Erwin got his first win against his younger sibling earlier this season, when Feyenoord lost by the only goal at RKC. ‘You never know what the future will bring, but it will probably be the last time we play each other as coaches in the Netherlands,’ said Ronald. ‘RKC have shown this season that they can make things very difficult for the big clubs, especially in away games. They have a disciplined team that can defend well. So we don't expect opponents who come to attack. RKC will shut up shop and count on Romeo Castelen’s speed. That means we have to be good and aggressive and play at a high pace. We have to put the pressure on from the first minute. If we manage that we should have enough quality to beat RKC.’

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