Vilhena ready to go again – twice
With two matches to play in 2013, Feyenoord are focused on picking up three points on Saturday in the league and, before that, booking their place in the quarterfinal of the KNVB Cup on Wednesday evening. Ronald Koeman is fully aware of how important it is for his side to get the win at Heracles Almelo’s Polman Stadium in the first of those fixtures. Not only because it would put them in the last sixteen, but also because it would boost confidence ahead of PEC Zwolle’s visit at the weekend. ‘That’s why we’re approaching this match very seriously,’ said the coach on Tuesday.
Midfielder Tonny Vilhena is in full agreement with his boss. ‘The cup is one of two prizes we can win this season. A win can also bolster our confidence going into Saturday’s match against PEC Zwolle. We want to end the year on a high. I think we can be satisfied with the first half of the season if we get another two wins this week. If we manage it then anything’s possible after the winter break.’
Feyenoord approach the last 16 tie against Heracles in buoyant mood thanks to a trio of victories. ‘When you win three matches on the bounce, something changes in the squad,’ Vilhena explains. ‘Everyone’s in good spirits and full of confidence. That said, we also know there were less good things in our performance against FC Groningen last Sunday that we have to improve. Winning that match despite everything is an extra incentive to go all out again against Heracles.’
The coming matches against Heracles and PEC Zwolle wrap up a busy period for Vilhena, who has played every single league game for Feyenoord this past half year. The midfielder is the first to admit that there’s been ups and downs. ‘I’ve had good matches and less good matches, but I think that’s only to be expected at my age. In any case, I always try to give one hundred per cent; I don’t think that’s the problem. If the form isn’t there you sometimes have to try harder. If I’ve given everything I have on the pitch I can be satisfied.’
Ronald Koeman takes a 20-man squad to Almelo for Wednesday evening’s cup tie. Samuel Armenteros and Ruben Schaken, neither of whom were fit enough to play in the league against FC Groningen at the weekend, both travel. A thigh injury means that Miquel Nelom does not.