Despite the dark clouds over De Kuip. The coach is remaining calm. He has reiterated that his job is to be positive with his players, as the pressure from outside increases. ‘I have to keep my head cool and do my job as I see fit,’ says Koeman. ‘In a way the management also has confidence in. I know what I’m doing, just like the management does. They have a really tough job. I also have a hard job, but for me it’s more of a short-term thing.’
With that Koeman is referring to two games in four days. Sunday’s at fifth-placed Roda and Thursday’s at home to fourth-placed FC Twente. Koeman stressed the need for team spirit ahead of that first challenge. ‘We have to go out on the pitch as a team; the crowd has to form a unit on the pitch. The most important thing is that we put in the best possible performance tomorrow. We can be accused of a lot, but not that we haven’t worked hard enough. We worked hard against Ajax too, although it was expressed in completely the wrong way. I want to see a change there tomorrow.’
Timothy Derijck joined the squad for a brief training camp, although Ron Vlaar was not on the bus. The defender is still suffering from a foot injury. Pierre van Hooijdonk and Sebastián Pardo both sit out the match after a red card each at the weekend. Romeo Castelen, Pieter Collen and Alfred Schreuder are also unavailable due to long-term injuries.
Four days after the defeat to Ajax, Feyenoord will be looking to rinse away the bad taste with a good performance and three points against FC Twente. The visitors have hit a rich seam of form however, with five wins out of eight this season, so things certainly won’t be easy for Erwin Koeman’s team.
The campaign started badly with FC Twente being dumped out of the UEFA Cup in the qualifying stage against unfancied Levadia Tallinn. That was followed by a 3-0 loss in the Eredivise opener against neighbours Heracles. A 1-0 win against PSV put Fred Rutten’s team back on track however, and they haven’t looked back since. Draws against Roda JC and AZ – two top-five teams – were followed by a quartet of wins that saw Sparta, RKC, ADO Den Haag and Excelsior all succumb and FC Twente climb to joint third.
That success is built on physical strength and technical quality. Swiss striker Blaise N’Kufo is the star turn. His six goals have driven his team onwards and upwards in much the same way as Huntelaar’s at Ajax and Alves’s at Heerenveen. N’Kufo is supported by the more creative Sharbel Touma and Kennedy Bakircioglü. Orlando Engelaar is a new addition that has brought a lot to the team. In defence, Luke Wilkshire and Robbie Wielaert are both doing well. There are some areas coach Fred Rutten has to work on however, something that Feyenoord will be hoping to take advantage of. The defence is a little shaky at times, which is reflected in the fact that FC Twente have conceded twelve goals this term.
Feyenoord – FC Twente
Thursday 26 October, 20:00 at De Kuip
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Saidi, Greene, Léonard (Drenthe); Buijs, Hofs, Lucius, De Guzman; Boussaboun, Charisteas.
FC Twente: Boschker; Wilkshire, Wielaert, Zomer, Heubach; Brama, Bakkal, Engelaar; Bakircioglü, N’Kufo, Touma.
LAST TEN MEETINGS
2/4/2006 Feyenoord- FC Twente 4-2
12/9/2004 Feyenoord - FC Twente 3-1
1/2/2004 Feyenoord - FC Twente 3-2
2/2/2003 Feyenoord - FC Twente 4-2
24/2/2002 Feyenoord - FC Twente 1-2
25/9/2005 FC Twente - Feyenoord 1-3
29/1/2005 FC Twente - Feyenoord 0-0
13/12/2003 FC Twente - Feyenoord 4-2
14/9/2002 FC Twente - Feyenoord 1-5
19/12/2001 FC Twente - Feyenoord 3-2