Asked whether he could be congratulated after Saturday’s 2-1 win against AZ, Giovanni van Bronckhorst said that he would ...
While Rotterdam basks in the memory of the weekend’s victory over Ajax, Erwin Koemen and his squad will have to be focused on another challenge Wednesday, when Feyenoord travel to fourth-place NEC. ‘The switch has been flicked, we have to recharge our batteries and be ready tomorrow again,’ admits the coach. ‘Okay, I’m very happy for the supporters and the fact they’re already bringing out a DVD of Feyenoord v Ajax shows how important it is. But for us, one thing is uppermost: getting those three points against NEC.’
You could breathe in the pleasure at Monday and Tuesday training this week. Not so strange, bearing in mind the weekend win over archrivals Ajax, concedes Erwin Koeman. But he is also careful to point up the pitfalls of basking too long. ‘I think it’s a good sign that pleasure is being had, but it’s my job to prevent the lads getting carried away in their happiness. We have a tough game on Wednesday and we could be in for a difficult evening. NEC are doing well and are fourth for a reason.’
‘I’ve noticed that people are looking at Feyenoord in a different way,’ continues Koeman. ‘It has been like that since the first day of the year. It has to do with several factors, not least our performances. But also the arrival of Ron Vlaar and especially Pierre van Hooijdonk. With Pierre we have an extra weapon, and expectations grow as a consequence. I’ve noticed that standards are going up as the league advances. This is no bad thing, we are going for the ultimate prize after all. And I’m seeing more solidity in the team. We are making progress all the time.’
Koeman will have to do without Sebastián Pardo again in Nijmegen. The Chilean did report for training Tuesday, but he is not fit enough for selection after a bout of flu and a foot injury. Serginho Greene left that same training pitch early, but he will be available. Koeman wants to take the pressure off his right back, after Greene had to race against the clock in time to make the cut against Ajax after a hip complaint. All told then, Feyenoord is likely to start the game against NEC as it did against Ajax.
NEC – Feyenoord
8 February 2006, 20:00 at De Goffert stadium
Referee: Van Hulten
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Greene, Vlaar, Bahia, Bosschaart; Hofs, Paauwe, De Guzman; Castelen, Kuyt, Kalou.
NEC: Babos; Wielaert, Olsson, Wisgerhof, Leiwakabessy; Barreto, Boutahar, Van der Doelen, Jones; Denneboom, Niedzielan.
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
11/9/2005 Feyenoord - NEC 3-0
5/12/2004 Feyenoord - NEC 2-1
17/8/2003 Feyenoord - NEC 2-1
18/8/2002 Feyenoord - NEC 2-0
9/12/2001 Feyenoord - NEC 5-0
8/5/2005 NEC - Feyenoord 2-0
28/1/2004 NEC - Feyenoord 1-2
16/3/2003 NEC - Feyenoord 1-2
8/9/2001 NEC - Feyenoord 0-3
19/11/2000 NEC - Feyenoord 1-3