The Feyenoord training session was taken in by a small group of travelling fans. The 75 or so supporters from Holland will no doubt have their work cut out to shout down the much larger home support, which is known for its fanatics. Koeman has already warned his side what to expect. ‘The stadium is not expected to be full, but the crowd will nevertheless be an important factor. The fans are close to the pitch and they will have an impact on the game. That means we have to keep our heads. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be put off.’
Koeman followed his own advice at the pre-match press conference, spitting out short-and-snappy soundbites in response to the questions of Romanian journalists. Asked what he could expect if Feyenoord don’t make it to the group stages, the coach replied: ‘Then I’ll be sacked.’ Would it be a disaster for Feyenoord if they were dumped out of the competition at this early stage? ‘What happened in the United States was a disaster,’ retorted Koeman. The coach will be hoping that his players are in as good form Thursday evening.
Koeman showed a more serious side when he faced the Dutch press after the training session. ‘I think that Rapid will hand us the initiative. Nil-nil is enough for them and they will sit back and wait for our defence to make a mistake. We have to handle that intelligently. We mustn’t fall into their trap; we have to stay calm. The team has to understand that we have to score, but that a goal in the 80th minute is good enough. I just mean that we shouldn’t get carried away in our enthusiasm. The aim is to play a clever game and reach the next round.’
Uefa Cup, First Round, Second Leg
RAPID BUCHAREST – FEYENOORD
Thursday 29 November, 18.00 CET at the Giulesti Stadium
Referee: Lucílio Cardoso Cortez Batista (Portugal)
How they may line up
Lodewijks; Östlund, Bahia, Greene, Bosschaart; Ghaly, Ono, Paauwe; Castelen, Kuyt, Kalou.