Koeman was not entirely positive about the approaching round of international fixtures, however. The Feyenoord coach delicately pointed out that his side is yet to win a game ahead of an international break since he took on the job. Last season his charges drew against sc Heerenveen and lost to ADO Den Haag and N.E.C.; another defeat followed earlier this season at the hands of Vitesse.
‘It’s difficult to say what the reason is,’ admits Koeman. ‘But players that join up with their national team, be that for the first time or not, have to realise that there’s an important league game is on the fixture list first.’
In Groningen Koeman is hoping his side can continue their promising early form. ‘I’ve said before that if we beat N.E.C. and FC Groningen and reach the next round of the cup, we can talk in terms of a good start to the season. We can finish that series well if we win, but it won’t be easy.’
The coach is yet to make a decision on whether Joris Mathijsen will join the squad for Sunday’s game. ‘Joris has been able to take part in everything we’ve done in the last few training sessions. If he’s fit enough, he will be preferred to Terence Kongolo.’
Koeman was also draw on the fitness of Wesley Verhoek. ‘Wesley don’t play much at FC Twente so he has a bit of catching up to do and he is not 100% fit. We knew that, so we are giving him time.’
Probable Feyenoord line-up: Lamprou; Janmaat, Kongolo (Mathijsen), Martins Indi, Nelom; Leerdam, Immers, Clasie; Schaken, Pellè, Cissé.