Result is all that matters to Koeman
After the impressive, not to mention important, win at Groningen, Feyenoord were able to work towards Sunday’s match against sc Heerenveen in relaxed and confident mood during the past week. But Ronald Koeman was unwilling on Friday to say whether he would keep to the formation and game plan that was so successful last weekend. ‘I haven’t decided yet,’ the head coach said with his trademark smile.
Koeman was not surprised to see his team play so well in a system with five defensive players, two overlapping full-backs and two strikers. ‘We have the players to do that and they implemented the tactics well in Groningen. It caused our opponents a lot of problems,’ said the Feyenoord coach, who has no qualms about adopting the same style in a sold-out De Kuip. ‘Because at the end of the day it’s the result that counts and it’s about us winning.’
Koeman chose an upfront partnership of Mitchell Te Vrede and Ruben Schaken in Groningen, which meant there was no place for Jean-Paul Boëtius in the team. Koeman took the time in Friday to once again clarify that the decision was primarily based on tactical considerations. ‘I also explained that to Jean-Paul, I felt he deserved that. Up till now I’ve often gone for certainty, but I’m now looking more than ever at what I think the team needs. That’s a signal to the squad, which I feel we needed after the defeat to Ajax. It produced results last week and hopefully that will continue.’
Feyenoord won the corresponding fixture in Friesland earlier in the season, which would suggest a home win is within the Rotterdammers’ reach on Sunday. That said, the visitors are unbeaten at De Kuip in three years. ‘In my first year we couldn’t even win when they had nine men,’ Koeman recalled. ‘Heerenveen’s strengths are first and foremost up front, where they have a lot of speed and quality. They are dangerous on the break, but we have already shown we can handle them.’
It’s uncertain whether Koeman will be able to call on Otman Bakkal against the Frisians. The midfielder was ill earlier in the week and did not join the squad for training until Friday. The final decision on Bakkal will be taken after the final training session on Saturday. Everyone else is available save the suspended Graziano Pellè.