Feyenoord aware of N.E.C.’s strengths

Speaking after Wednesday’s win in Nijmegen Ronald Koeman confirmed that there are advantages to playing the same side twice in the space of four days. He is also aware that teams can change their approach after the first encounter and he expects N.E.C. to do just that at the Goffert Stadium on Saturday night. Koeman feels that his side will come up against a much more offensive outfit than they did the first time around. ‘Alex Pastoor has also said he felt his team played too deep,’ said Koeman, referring to his N.E.C. counterpart at the De Kuip press conference ahead of the fixture. ‘I myself hope we do those things that we didn’t do well on Wednesday better on Saturday, so we are able to put in an even more complete performance.’

Koeman was delighted when Lex Immers grabbed the winning goal in the last minute of extra time in midweek. Partly because the cup is so important to the Feyenoord coach. ‘After that tie I also focused with the group on the coming league games against N.E.C. and FC Groningen,’ explained Koeman. ‘If we can take six points from those two games, with the cup win included we will have made a good start to the season, and we have played more games away than at home.’
On Saturday Koeman will have virtually the same squad to choose from as he had at his disposal in the cup game. Academy player Lucas Woudenberg, who was on the bench on Wednesday, is in the Feyenoord A1 side to play Ajax A1 on Friday night. His place will be taken by Omar Elabdellaoui.
Ronald Graafland has not yet returned to the squad, so Michel Franken will take his place among the substitutes as reserve keeper. Kostas Lamprou retains his starting place. On Friday Koeman expressed his general satisfaction with the Greek’s performances between the sticks. ‘He’s doing well, although there is room for improvement at times. He is sometimes less aware of situations in games than in training, but we have a lot of confidence in Kostas.’
As well as Graafland, Joris Mathijsen, Stefan de Vrij, Erwin Mulder, Mitchell Te Vrede and John Goossens are all unavailable for selection against N.E.C. Mathijsen, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, may spend some time training with the rest of the squad next week, but he is not yet ready to play. ‘I expect that we will have the same group for the FC Groningen game,’ said Koeman.
Probable team: Lamprou; Janmaat, Kongolo, Martins Indi, Nelom; Leerdam, Immers, Clasie; Schaken, Pellè, Cissé.
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