Sunday 8 December at 12:30 hour

Eredivisie

SC Heerenveen

1-2

Feyenoord

Koeman wants his men to find strength from within

Feyenoord travel to Heerenveen for this weekend’s match looking to build on last week’s convincing win at home to PSV. Ronald Koeman expects his team to be just as uninhibited and aggressive, although he does realise that the Abe Lenstra Stadium will be a different proposition to De Kuip when it’s filled with Feyenoord fans. ‘There’s a unique atmosphere at our stadium that drives us on,’ Koeman said on Friday. ‘In away matches we will have to generate that driving force ourselves more.’

Koeman wants his men to find strength from within
“We want to win every match from now to the winter break”
Ronald Koeman

One thing that came out of the review of the PSV game is that Feyenoord’s back line has almost never played so high up the pitch this season. ‘Our last man was often on the midway line or even higher up,’ observed Koeman, who emphasised how key that is to his team’s success. ‘We are good when we can put our opponents under a lot of pressure, but we can only do that if we close down the space. Jordy Clasie is one of the players with a very important role in ensuring that happens. He’s fast over the first couple of metres and knows when pressure has to be applied. If we leave lots of space we’re vulnerable to counterattacks.’

That’s pretty pertinent, because Koeman also identified counterattacking play as one of sc Heerenveen’s strengths. ‘That’s where they create the most chances, with an important role for their fast strikers. In Finnbogason they also have a fantastic centre forward.’ The coach watched on last Wednesday as the Frisians avoided defeat to ADO with an injury-time equaliser. ‘But I expect a very different Heerenveen on Sunday.’

The 12.30 CET kick-off is Feyenoord’s last Eredivisie away game of the year, with two home matches to come before the winter break, although they also travel to Heracles Almelo in the cup a week before Christmas. While Koeman does not see Sunday’s match as a must-win, he does have clear targets for the coming week. ‘We want to win every match from now to the winter break.’

On the personnel front, Samuel Armenteros will not be available for selection in Heerenveen. The forward is still struggling with the foot injury that kept him out of the PSV game. Miquel Nelom is also out. He has a thigh problem. It’s still uncertain whether Kostas Lamprou will be in the squad. The keeper left Friday training early with a painful foot. Stefan de Vrij is also a doubt. ‘He is a little unwell so he stayed indoors,’ Koeman explained. ‘I expect he’ll be able to train again on Saturday, but you can never be sure.’

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