Feyenoord looking to make up for early losses in Nijmegen
For Feyenoord Sunday’s away game at N.E.C. is the start of a new phase of the season. After elimination from European competition, Ronald Koeman’s side can now concentrate fully on domestic league and cup commitments. And the coach now knows exactly who he has in his squad after the transfer window finally shut. ‘We’ve had a bad start in the league, but we have to make progress and earn points in the coming weeks,’ said Koeman on Friday afternoon. ‘If we do, by the time the next international break comes we’ll be where we want to be. We have to make up a lot of ground and we can do.’
Despite the poor start in the league Koeman is still determined to take the next step with his team after the last two seasons. Not only in terms of playing style, but also in terms of results. ‘It’s clear that we have to play better than we have been doing up to now. We have the players to be able to play with more variation, it’s just that it depends on confidence and results.
‘Quite simply, this team has to be up near the top this season. The objective is to qualify for Europe directly. It’s up to us how high we finish. Some other teams in the Eredivisie have been weakened compared with last year, but not us.’
Koeman hopes to be able to identify his preferred starting line-up over the next few weeks. ‘We would have preferred it to be different, but it is an advantage over our competitors that we only have to play one game a week. It means we don't have to travel to European games and so have more opportunities in a week to make progress as a team. That should be to our advantage.’
The coach is hopeful his side will be able to generate confidence at N.E.C. on Sunday by taking all three points away from home for the first time this season. Koeman feels it’s difficult to know what sort of opponents his side will come up against. ‘N.E.C. have four new players compared with their last game. That’s another pointer that a new phase of the season is starting. We will have to be on our guard in any case.’