Koeman: ‘Let’s show we are genuine contenders on Sunday’

Sunday’s fixture will be Feyenoord’s third away game in the Eredivisie against one of the top sides this season. While Ronald Koeman can look back on an outstanding first half of the season, he has seen his side concede three goals without reply at PSV and FC Twente. ‘We weren’t ourselves in those matches,’ the Feyenoord coach said Friday. ‘So Sunday is a chance to show that we can put in a good performance against this type of opponents away from home too. We have grown as a team, now it’s down to us to show that we are genuine contenders.’

Koeman certainly feels that his team could pull something off at the Amsterdam Arena. First and foremost, he’s hoping they will make a bright start against the Eredivisie champions on their own patch. ‘In the last three games against Ajax in our strong phases we have shown that we can get the upper hand if we chase down our opponents and face up to them,’ he explained.

Koeman feels that is one of the big differences between Feyenoord and Ajax. He feels his side is physically stronger than Frank de Boer’s. ‘Ajax always try to find a footballing solution and in my opinion they sometimes overdo it.’

Koeman’s preferred starting eleven in Amsterdam remained a mystery on Friday. Ruben Schaken and Lex Immers both trained with the rest of the squad after a period on the sidelines due to injury and both are likely to be available for selection. Schaken is completely recovered from groin surgery, while Immers returns after minor hamstring problems.

Feyenoord will train again at De Kuip on Saturday and the session will be open to fans. ‘We have twice gone to Varkenoord for the final session before the game against Ajax, but unfortunately it was not a safe situation there,’ said Koeman. ‘We don’t have the facilities there to hold the final session there with so many supporters. So tomorrow we’ll train in the stadium. We are delighted to have the support of the fans in this session but I was irritated by certain chants last time. I hope we are able to hold a normal session so we can prepare optimally for the big game.’

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