Feyenoord earned their third Johan Cruijff Shield win in their history in Eindhoven on Saturday evening. Head coach Giovann...
There’s little or no crying over spilled milk at Feyenoord after Thursday’s Uefa elimination at the hands of Deportivo la Coruña. The players were given until their flight touched down in the Netherlands on Friday afternoon to come to terms with their disappointment. From here on in, the only thing on their minds should be the weekend Eredivisie match at Vitesse.
Karim El Ahmadi and Georginio Wijnaldum were substituted relatively early in the Deportivo game to save their energy for the weekend. The first had a calf strain, while the coach felt that Wijnaldum was basically on his last legs.
Verbeek was not allowing the European frustration to get him down Friday, expressing confidence that his side could get a good result at Gelredome. ‘With all respect, Vitesse is not Deportivo,’ said the coach. ‘I am hopeful that things will go well on Sunday.’
Feyenoord have picked up ten points from the last four league fixtures and have as a result slowly climbed the table to eleventh place. Before boarding the plane Friday morning in Spain, Giovanni van Bronckhorst made it clear that Feyenoord had to now focus on the league. ‘We have to continue the good run we are on against Vitesse.’
The Uefa Cup elimination was a disappointment for the skipper, who feels that Feyenoord clearly did not deserve to advance to the next round. ‘Lech Poznan will now be a very strange game,’ said Van Bronckhorst about the final group fixture. Sunday in Arnhem on the other hand is an important match. ‘It’s great to be able to get back to work so soon after a defeat.’
Verbeek goes into the Vitesse game with an extra attacker in his provisional squad. Andwélé Slory sealed his return to action in La Coruña after two months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
Vitesse have been centre-stage in Dutch football twice recently. Not because of admirable performances on the pitch, but because of matters much less welcome in Arnhem. First came the disastrous KNVB Cup elimination against amateur club FC Lienden, then came the less than impressive Civard Sprockel/Sébastien Sansoni affair.
Vitesse coach Hans Westerhof told AZ’s Louis van Gaal after the sides met recently that he feels the central defensive duo are ‘dramatic for this standard’. In a private discussion thought Westerhof, but the tête-à-tête was picked up by a microphone and ended up in the public domain.
The two players were unsurprisingly not amused by the description. Sprockel in particular found the criticism hard to swallow. The affair certainly had an impact on moral in Arnhem, as Vitesse crashed to a 0-4 defeat at FC Utrecht last Sunday.
It was the latest setback in a season of disappointments. Vitesse have managed just two wins in twelve this season in the league and are currently fifteenth in the table, a point ahead of a relegation playoff position. It’s certainly not what the Arnhem side had in mind when they started the campaign. Technical director Marc van Hintum strengthened the squad considerably preseason with new arrivals that included Rogier Molhoek, Julian Jenner and Nick Hofs.
The growth of Ricky van Wolfswinkel is a rare plus at the Gelredome. The young striker has played every game up to now and he has distinguished himself with some refreshing attacking play. Three Eredivisie goals and a string of good performances have earned Van Wolfswinkel a call-up to the Dutch B side. It’s a boost for a club that finds itself at rather a low point otherwise.
Vitesse – Feyenoord
Sunday 30 November, 12:30 at Gelredome
Vitesse: Velthuizen; Van der Struijk, Sprockel, Sansoni, Drost; Kolk, Claudemir, Hofs, Molhoek, Büttner; Van Wolfswinkel.
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Wijnaldum, El Ahmadi, Fer, Van Bronckhorst, Bruins; Makaay.
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01/04/2007 Vitesse - Feyenoord 0-1
15/01/2006 Vitesse - Feyenoord 0-1
29/08/2004 Vitesse - Feyenoord 1-1
08/02/2004 Vitesse - Feyenoord 0-0
17/02/2008 Feyenoord - Vitesse 1-0
05/11/2006 Feyenoord - Vitesse 2-1
06/11/2005 Feyenoord - Vitesse 0-0
23/01/2005 Feyenoord - Vitesse 1-2
22/11/2003 Feyenoord - Vitesse 3-0