With three defeats in four, Erwin Koeman’s Feyenoord go into Sunday’s match against FC Utrecht looking to get things back on track. Current form has brought sixth place SC Heerenveen within just four points of the Rotterdammers and the loss at FC Twente means that Feyenoord have now conceded more goals than they’ve scored. But the coach remains positive: ‘I don’t feel like we are in a crisis when I look at the training sessions. But training sessions are clearly different to matches.’
‘If you look at the pressure my side is under, you cannot expect more than they are giving,’ continued Koeman. Against FC Twente, for instance. ‘We played there with five young lads aged eighteen or nineteen in the starting line-up. You cannot expect players like that to play great week in, week out; it goes up and down. That’s why I don’t want to blame my young players for anything. It’s impressive how they’re coping with all this; I take my hat off to them.’
Koeman used the performance of Royston Drenthe as an example. The young defender has played a couple of formidable games this season, though he’s been out of sorts in the last two matches. ‘But if that was a reason to replace him I could change half the team. I’m remaining critical in a positive way, this group needs support.’
The coach will be without Theo Lucius Sunday, as the captain is suspended. The stand-in skipper will be announced ahead of the game. Tim Vincken is a doubt, on the back of a couple days illness, although Romeo Castelen is ready to play from the start. That said, the winger is unlikely to last a full ninety minutes.
FC UTRECHT LOOKING TO DO THE DOUBLE
Feyenoord have already lost once to FC Utrecht this season, going down 1-2 at Galgenwaard, where RKC Waalwijk (5-0) and FC Groningen (3-0) have also been outplayed, but it’s a different story away from home.
Scoring is a bit of a problem for FC Utrecht. Fortuné feels he is a creator rather than a finisher and five goals in 22 matches would tend to prove that. Coach Foeke Booy does have former Feyenoord Robin Nelisse, but he’s no goal machine either. That’s why much is expected of Ali Boussaboun, who joined the club on loan from Feyenoord in the transfer window.
The defence on the other hand is rock solid. That’s down in no small measure to keeper Michel Vorm, who made his first-team debut this term and is now a nailed-on first choice. The club has been unable to make an impression on the Eredivisie and currently lags behind in the race for the Champions League play-off places in tenth. Chairman Jan Willem van Dop has already expressed the opinion that his club needs to be pushing for a top-five finish, but it’s clearly a big ask.
Feyenoord – FC Utrecht
Sunday 18 February 2007, 14.30 at De Kuip
Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Vlaar, Bahia, Drenthe; Buijs, Schreuder, De Guzman; Castelen (Kolkka), Charisteas, Huysegems
FC Utrecht: Vorm; Cornelisse, Broerse, Dickoh, Pieters; Somers, Van Dijk, Kruys, Caluwé; Boussaboun, Rossini
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
05/03/2006 Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 3-0
19/09/2004 Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 0-3
25/01/2004 Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 3-2
01/12/2002 Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 2-1
28/10/2001 Feyenoord – FC Utrecht 4-0
17/12/2006 FC Utrecht – Feyenoord 2-1
02/10/2005 FC Utrecht – Feyenoord 3-1
20/02/2005 FC Utrecht – Feyenoord 0-2
18/04/2004 FC Utrecht – Feyenoord 0-3
04/05/2003 FC Utrecht – Feyenoord 1-2