Feyenoord can look back on a fantastic 2012 whatever happens at the weekend. Ronald Koeman’s side finished second in the league and have managed to stay right on the tail of the pacemakers in the first half of this season. ‘It would appear obvious to me that we want to finish well before the winter break,’ Koeman explained on Friday afternoon. ‘But come what may we can look back on a fantastic first half of the season and a fantastic calendar year. Feyenoord are back where they belong.’
Koeman pointed to the statistics, which show that only Ajax have accumulated more points in the league over the past twelve months. ‘The whole of Feyenoord deserves a big compliment for that,’ said Koeman. ‘We want to continue that into the new year.’
During the Friday press conference the coach especially named the players who have had fewer first-team opportunities during the first half of the season than they would have hoped for. ‘The boys who sometimes don’t make the cut have a very good attitude,’ he said. ‘We invest in that too, by ensuring they get the attention they deserve from the technical staff. You create a launch pad for success when everyone comes together to form a strong group.’
It is still unsure whether Koeman will be able to call on Sekou Cissé against FC Groningen. The striker was left nursing an ankle injury after the cup win against Heerenveen. The coach explained that Cissé’s availability would be decided on Saturday. Two players who are definitely ruled out are John Goossens, who is not match fit, and Kelvin Leerdam, who is ill.