‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord take on Dynamo Kyiv in the third qualifying round of the Champions League on Tuesday evening and Ronald Koeman feels there are enough possibilities for his side to earn a good result in Ukraine. Speaking ahead of the final training session at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, the coach insisted that his squad have the quality to knock out the Ukrainians, despite having much less experience than their opponents.
Koeman was in Kyiv to watch the Ukrainian side in league action last Friday. Based on what he saw, the coach sees possibilities for his side. ‘It wasn’t a great game on Friday, the heat probably played a part in that,’ said Koeman. ‘We are aware of the strengths of Dynamo Kyiv, but also their weaknesses. If we play well we have a chance.’
For Koeman the biggest difference between Feyenoord and Dynamo Kyiv is the European experience found in the Ukrainian side’s ranks. ‘None of our boys have ever played on this stage before. The players have to see this as a challenge. This is the level every player wants to get to. They now have the opportunity to show that. If we managed to create that atmosphere and the players go about things in an uninhibited way, we can knock out a side like Dynamo Kyiv.’
It is highly likely that the temperature will be around thirty degrees when the game kicks off. Koeman expects the heat to be a major factor. ‘So we will have to play with something in reserve and manage our energies properly.’
Koeman was unwilling to say much about how Feyenoord are going to play. He may choose to start in a 4-4-2 formation, which was how Feyenoord kicked off against FC Dordrecht in a recent friendly. ‘But we’ll tell the players how we are going to play before anyone else,’ said the coach.
Koeman’s press conference in Kyiv’s Olympic National Sports Complex, as it is formally known, attracted a number of Ukrainian journalists alongside their Dutch counterparts. An interpreter was on hand, although the translations were very free at times. One journalist observed that Elvis Manu was Feyenoord’s top scorer in preseason, but the interpreter translated that as ‘last season’s top scorer’. Koeman saw the funny side, but took the opportunity to put the record straight.
Dynamo Kyiv – Feyenoord
Tuesday 31 July at 19:00* at the Olympic National Sports Complex (Kyiv)
Referee: Marriner (Eng)
* 20:00 local time