Feyenoord single-minded ahead of Willem II visit
On Friday Giovanni van Bronckhorst took training with a near full squad for the first time this week. Feyenoord’s head coach would have been pleased to welcome back those players who had been away on international duty with national full and youth squads. They all returned to De Kuip fit and ready for the match against Willem II at the stadium this Sunday. At a sunny Varkenoord complex Van Bronckhorst saw what he was looking for in his players: an enormous hunger to return to Eredivisie action with a win.
Feyenoord take on Willem II, a team that managed to claim all three points with a 2-1 win at De Kuip last season. It just so happens that the match is the fifth of the season, just as it was twelve months ago. The date – 13 September – is also the same. ‘But when I look at our line-up, I see five, six different players in the team, which shows how fast things can move in football,’ said Van Bronckhorst, who has recently watched the whole match again. ‘Last year we lost a lot of points especially at home in that period. Clearly we don’t want to let that happen again.’
In the respect Feyenoord have started well, with six points from the first two home fixtures. Wins against FC Utrecht and Vitesse have contributed to a good start, although August ended with a loss at PSV. Van Bronckhorst feels Feyenoord need to learn lessons from the things that did not go well in Eindhoven. One of those things was communication on the pitch, says the coach. ‘It was not always optimal between defence and midfield for instance. The first two goals we conceded were a consequence of that. We could have avoided them.’
Van Bronckhorst saw defender Eric Botteghin go off injured against PSV, while Rick Karsdorp reported groin trouble a day later and had to pull out of the Dutch U21s. Both remain doubtful for Sunday’s match, admitted the coach. ‘Eric and Rick has some minor complaints. We’ll have to wait and see how they come through the last training session on Saturday. We’ll make a decision based on that.’