Feyenoord head for Alkmaar full of confidence

Ronald Koeman feels his side and Sunday’s opponents AZ have a few things in common. Both have seen important players leave after enjoying relative success last season. But while the impact that’s had on AZ is clear – the Alkmaar outfit are languishing in twelfth place – Feyenoord have made a promising start to this campaign and currently lie joint fourth. ‘It means we’ve filled the vacated positions well,’ the Feyenoord coach concluded during the Friday afternoon press conference at De Kuip.

One of the positions that fell vacant in the off-season was that of attacking midfielder. A role that has been claimed by Lex Immers. Koeman feels it is a ‘good sign’ that the 26-year-old is available for selection against AZ, despite suffering a knee injury last week. ‘Though I do think everyone can be replaced, we haven’t go anyone alongside Lex who can fill the position of attacking midfielder like him. He is especially very good at choosing the right moment to get in front of goal. No other player in the Eredivisie has been able to score as many goals as he has so far.’

AZ have had a wobbly start to the season, something Koeman puts down in part to the quality they lost before the season started. ‘AZ are still playing well, it’s just they are finding it tough to convert that into results. The team is less productive, especially after the departure of Rasmus Elm, who was very important at free kicks. On the other hand, in Jozy Altidore they have a striker who is always a big threat and scores a lot of goals.’

Feyenoord travel to Alkmaar buoyed by two recent home wins against Roda JC Kerkrade and Willem II and a virtually full squad, save Erwin Mulder, Terence Kongolo and Sekou Cissé, who will all be out of action for the foreseeable future. Koeman is bullish about how he wants his side to finish the year: ‘We want to win every game through to the winter break, starting with this Sunday’s. We’re ready.’

Probable team: Lamprou; Janmaat, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi; Clasie, Immers, Vilhena; Verhoek, Pellè, Schaken.
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