Bert van Marwijk was cautious to rein in expectations after training Saturday when thirteen thousand fans gave his new squad an enthusiastic reception at the first day of training. The coach admitted he was delighted that so many people had turned out to welcome him and his squad, but in characteristic style he wasn’t going to let it take his focus off the job at hand. ‘I understand the euphoria. This is all great and I’m enjoying it,’ said Van Marwijk. ‘But we haven’t got any points yet and it won’t be easy to catch up with Ajax, AZ and PSV in no time. You can’t just buy a successful team. One example is Chelsea, which hasn’t been able to buy the Champions League either. I’m not getting carried away with the high expectations, but we have to remain realistic.’

Van Marwijk spoke those words at the end of a fifteen-minute press conference in which the returning coach had made positive noises. His own return was, he admitted, ‘a bit like coming home’. Van Marwijk was also enthusiastic what he’d seen on the training pitch, including Nuri Sahin’s ball skills and the qualities of the club’s four latest signings. He was also delighted to see how the quartet was already showing a willingness to help the team develop. ‘It’s very early in the season, but today the young lads could see how eager players like De Cler, Hofland, Makaay and Van Bronckhorst are. “Gio” just went on holiday, but he’s at the first day of training anyway. He’ll be back at the training camp on 18 July, although he originally wasn’t due to come until 21 July. That shows how eager he is. A player of his stature doing that has a big impact in the group’

The coach also said a few words about further comings and going before the season proper kicks off. Van Marwijk admitted that he would like Castelen to stay, just as much as he would like to hold onto Royston Drenthe. But Van Marwijk was also realistic. ‘Basically Royston is not for sale, but if bids so high are tabled that the club cannot refuse, it’ll be difficult. In that case a loan-back would be nice. The most important thing is that he stays.’

‘We haven’t bought everyone we want,’ continued Van Marwijk, ‘But you never have at this level. We have to stay alert to what the market does and keep possible buys in mind. With only Makaay in attack, the front line is a little lightweight. We’re looking for one, maybe two strikers. We’re also keeping a look out for a controlling midfielder.’
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