TIME TO STOP THE ROT BEFORE IT REALLY SETS IN

Two home defeats to FC Groningen in two years is surely all Feyenoord need to inspire them to victory when the sides meet Sunday at De Kuip. That’s the view of Erwin Koeman in any event. ‘That fact has to be optimal motivation for the guys. The motivation has to be that we go to it furiously, but intelligently too,’ says the ex-Groningen player. Likely starters who shouldn’t need any extra motivation are Jonathan de Guzman and Hossam Ghaly, who is on the verge of getting an unexpected recall. <BR>

No surprise then that Hossam Ghaly was the main topic of discussion at the Friday press call. In Bucharest the midfielder seemed to have wasted the last bit of goodwill he had in the bank, but Ono’s setback means the Egyptian could find himself with an opportunity to redeem himself with his coach almost immediately. ‘I never said that I’d written him off,’ says Koeman. ‘ I wasn’t impressed by him, but I am keeping every option open. I won’t be writing any players off as long as I can call on them. Our ways of looking at it are different, that’s true. Let him show now that I’m wrong and how good he is.’

After the defeats to Rapid Bucharest and FC Utrecht Sunday will reveal whether Feyenoord are in the doldrums or whether they’re just in a dip. ‘Let’s hope so,’ says Koeman. ‘Hopefully the players are not thinking about those games anymore. It’s still in the back of my head, but that isn’t so important. I’m not on the pitch. The motivation on Sunday must be that we’ve now lost twice in succession to Groningen at De Kuip. That has to be an issue in the group. And based on that we’ll do our utmost to get three points.’

One player who will definitely be starting is Jonathon De Guzman, as Koeman confirmed Friday. The expectation is that Ghaly will play, what with Ono’s absence and the probability that Feyenoord will play with a beefed up midfield. Koeman trained with four defenders Thursday, but used one less a day later. ‘Playing with three at the back is a possibility, because I know how Groningen play,’ confirmed Koeman. ‘It will be different from against NAC, the game in which we also played with three at the back. But we can play in two systems. It’s just a pity that we have had so little time to practice, seeing as so many internationals were away.’ 

The reinforced midfield is likely to include Sebastián Pardo, who has lost out recently. Pascal Bosschaart is almost certain to miss the game with flu after missing three days’ training. ‘I don’t expect to be able to use him,’ admitted Koeman.

Eredivisie
Feyenoord – FC Groningen

Sunday 16 October, 14:30 at De Kuip
Referee: Bossen

Likely teams
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia; Ghaly, De Guzman, Paauwe, Pardo; Castelen, Kuyt, Kalou

FC Groningen: Roorda; Florén, Luirink, Kruiswijk, Silva; Levchenko, Seedorf, Matthijs, Buijs; Nevland, Cornelisse

Last ten meetings

Home
21/11/2004 Feyenoord – FC Groningen 1-2
2/5/2004 Feyenoord – FC Groningen 1-2
23/2/2003 Feyenoord – FC Groningen 4-1
14/10/2001 Feyenoord – FC Groningen 1-0
11/2/2001 Feyenoord – FC Groningen 1-0

Away
24/4/2005 FC Groningen – Feyenoord 0-2
2/11/2003 FC Groningen – Feyenoord 3-3
3/11/2002 FC Groningen – Feyenoord 0-2
10/2/2002 FC Groningen  – Feyenoord 0-1
17/12/2000 FC Groningen – Feyenoord 1-0

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