SEASON’S BIGGEST TEST YET AWAITS AGAINST PSV

Erwin Koeman is confident going into Sunday’s big game at De Kuip against PSV. The Feyenoord coach is convinced his team has enough quality to beat a team that booked its place in the last sixteen of the Champions League during the week. ‘I am positive about our chances, even though PSV have made more progress than we have. I’m looking forward to the game and along with the rest of the staff I’m very curious to see how we do. We are doing well. The question is whether we can keep it up. We may know more about that after Sunday.’

PSV are making a name for themselves at home and abroad, but that doesn’t mean Feyenoord have to feel like mouse in a cattery. Koeman still has his gaze firmly fixed on the league title. ‘This season’s goal is not to finish fifth so we can get into the Champions League through the playoffs. I don’t find that a healthy attitude. The intention is to stay in contention as long as possible. In the long run for the championship, in the short run  to move alongside PSV with a win. They are a stable team that have not lost too much quality after a successful season. A number of players have come in and that introduces some freshness. But we have a good team, with the ability to defeat PSV.’

As well as the game itself, Koeman spent some time talking about Kalou and his teacher Hiddink. The Ivorian who would be a Dutchmen got some great news Friday and this coach expressed his delight. ‘I am glad for Salomon and it was noticeable that he was happy with the news. We now have to wait and see, because the minister still has the opportunity to appeal.’ Koeman followed that up with some kind words about his colleague at PSV. ‘His strength? His personality and radiance, including his successful delegation and his understanding of football. He is not only a great coach, but also a pleasant man. I would sign up for a coaching career like Guus has had, but I think that every coach would.’

Romeo Castelen and Shinji Ono will be unavailable for selection Sunday, robbing Koeman of two of his biggest guns against the champions and current league leaders. Castelen suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury, ruling him out of contention until next year. Ono actually appears to be fit, but scratch the surface and another picture emerges. ‘He can join in positional games, but when we play training matches he cannot participate. Tackles are still too big a risk, bearing in mind the wound has not healed completely yet, as an MRI scan showed. I’m hoping he can resume group training in a week to ten days,’ says Koeman, who will also be without Gibbs, Mtiliga, Schreuder, Hofs and Vincken.

EREDIVISIE
Feyenoord – PSV
Sunday 11 December 2005, 12.30 at De Kuip

Referee: Bossen

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Snoyl; Ghaly, Paauwe, De Guzman; Boussaboun, Kuyt, Kalou.

PSV: Gomes; Lucius, Ooijer, Alex, Lamey; Simons, Cocu, Culina; Vennegoor of Hesselink, Koné, Farfán.

LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS

HOME
12/12/2004 Feyenoord - PSV 3-3
21/9/2003 Feyenoord - PSV 1-3
18/5/2003 Feyenoord - PSV 3-1
16/12/2001 Feyenoord - PSV 0-0
25/2/2001 Feyenoord - PSV 1-2

AWAY
15/5/2005 PSV - Feyenoord 4-2
14/3/2004 PSV - Feyenoord 0-1
17/11/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 1-2
14/4/2002 PSV - Feyenoord 2-0
12/11/2000 PSV - Feyenoord 1-0

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