Feyenoord looking to open a gap
At De Kuip on Tuesday afternoon Ronald Koeman was more than happy to clarify the importance of Wednesday’s match at Heracles Almelo. With Vitesse and PSV not playing in midweek, the Rotterdammers can move four points clear of two of their immediate rivals for second place. ‘If we manage it, we’ll have made a statement about our desire, which is to stay in second place,’ said the head coach.
Feyenoord have already met Heracles twice this season, and the results suggest that Koeman’s men will have their work cut out this time round. The Almelo outfit grabbed a 2-1 win at De Kuip in October, while the sides also locked horns at the Polman Stadium in the cup. On that occasion, Feyenoord managed to squeeze through to the next round on penalties. ‘First we lost to Heracles, then we drew, so if we continue the trend we’ll win tomorrow,’ smiled Koeman.
Feyenoord can also take confidence from the last three Eredivisie matches, which were all won convincingly. Solid defending was also rewarded with three clean sheets. ‘The run has given us a good feeling. Everyone is focused on the run of matches that are now coming up. We know what we’re fighting for. We are in a good position, but that can easily change completely with every match. In that respect we’re simply starting from scratch and we have to fight for the three points again.’
The clubs and the municipality of Almelo have been unable to reach agreement on travel arrangements for Feyenoord fans, so there will be no official contingent of away supporters at the Polman Stadium to cheer on the Rotterdammers. ‘It’s a pity, because we are always buoyed by great support away from home,’ said Koeman.
The coach was unwilling to set out his game plan the day before the match. Koeman tinkered with his system in the recent win at FC Groningen and he may do so again against Heracles. ‘Among other things, it depends who’s fit,’ he explained, referring to Terence Kongolo’s hip problem and Jean-Paul Boëtius, who has a couple of niggles. ‘Fortunately we can change up our formations.’