‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Ruud Gullit will be hoping his side can learn something from defeat when they visit NEC Sunday in the Eredivisie. Both PSV and AZ conceded late goals to dump them out of Europe this week, and Feyenoord have leaked their fair share of goals this campaign. ‘It’s not just about scoring goals, but about preventing them too. That’s our weakness. It’s so frustrating,’ admitted Gullit, who’ll be hoping for a shutout at De Goffert. Youngster Tim Vinken comes into the squad for the first, but probably not the last, time.
Romeo Castelen is a doubt going into Sunday’s game, which led the coach to bring the 18-year-old right-sided forward into his squad. ‘It’s good for him, with an eye to next season. In principle he’ll be in the first-team squad then. He may still play for the A youths and the reserves, but I want him with us. He is a good outside right.’
Gullit spoke about the midweek elimination of PSV and AZ in the Champions League and Uefa Cup respectively, making a link with Feyenoord’s predicament. ‘The clubs that have played the best football, and by that I mean Chelsea, Barcelona and PSV, have been knocked out. That says something. Our weakness is the defensive aspect, as a result of the offensive game. It’s about preventing goals. That is the most difficult part of the football that we at Feyenoord too try to play. A team can play fantastic, but there is always that small mistake. And then you have to hope it won’t be punished. It was this week. And it was with us in the matches against Ajax and PSV. But I still prefer to play how we in Holland try to play. It’s enjoyable. But if you are eliminated in that way twice, it’s so frustrating.’
Feyenoord will be looking to restore some pride after the defeat to Heerenveen, but Gullit’s side will have to do it without Patrick Lodewijks or Hossam Ghaly. The Egyptian returned to the training pitch Thursday for the first time since his concussion against Ajax. Shinji Ono, Romeo Castelen and Cory Gibbs are all doubtful, but there was better news about Gábor Babos, who is available again after two weeks on the sidelines. Nicky Hofs is also back in the reckoning after serving out his one-man ban.
HOLLAND CASINO EREDIVISIE
NEC – Feyenoord
Sunday 8 May, 12:30 at De Goffert
NEC: Gentenaar; Nalbantoglu, Wisgerhof, Ebbinge, Leiwakabessy; Barreto, Boutahar, Van der Doelen; Denneboom, Niedzielan (Van den Eede), Tininho.?
Feyenoord: Babos; Östlund, Saidi, Bahia (Gibbs), Bosschaart; Castelen (Vincken), Ono (Pardo), Hofs, Goor; Kuyt, Kalou.
LAST TEN MEETINGS
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
7/5/2000 NEC - Feyenoord 0-2
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
21/4/2001 Feyenoord - NEC 3-0