‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord travel to Amsterdam for the biggest showdown in Dutch football Sunday fully confidence of coming away with the right result. Sections of the nation’s media have suggested that the Rotterdammers should win the game, something they have not been wont to do in recent years. ‘Opinions about Feyenoord have turned full circle,’ responds coach Ruud Gullit with a smile. But if Feyenoord are to take three points at the Arena they’ll have to do it without the suspended Song and Bosschaart.
Gullit enjoyed being asked whether Feyenoord were the favourites going into the match at the Friday press conference, but he declined to be pinned down either way. It’s not about favourites, says Gullit. ‘It’s about how you feel, that’s important. Every match, you have to have feeling that you are better, whoever you’re playing. We have to feel that we are better and I see our team getting that feeling more and more. That’s what it’s about.’
Feyenoord almost came unstuck in Norway when Gullit tested the breadth of his squad, but against NAC there was much to be pleased about, with Thomas Buffel and
Hossam Ghaly – players who have not featured prominently so far this season – showing their worth. That evolution has boosted Gullit’s confidence in his squad’s strength in depth. ‘We showed that we could play in another way and I’m very satisfied about that. Of course, we’re not yet where I want to be. But we are taking a step forward every time. I would like to see us being more prudent with our chances.’
The Feyenoord line-up will show few changes from the win against NAC. Hossam Ghaly will deputise for Pascal Bosschaart again, and the experienced Chris Gyan is expected to be favoured over Gianni Zuiverloon at left back. The only personnel change would then be down to the return of Romeo Castelen, who was missing last week with a hamstring injury. Thomas Buffel looks like being the man who loses out, although Gullit wasn’t confirming anything Friday. ‘Buffel and Castelen can play in the same team fine,’ opined the coach. Otherwise, Glenn Loovens is a lingering doubt with a back injury. ‘There’ll probably be clarity on whether he makes it on Saturday,’ explained Gullit.
Holland Casino Eredivisie
Sunday 14 November
Feyenoord: Babos; Gyan, Saidi, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Castelen, Ono, Ghaly,
Goor; Kuyt. Kalou.
Ajax: Vonk; Trabelsi, Escudé, Grygera, De Jong; Galasek (Sneijder),
Van der Vaart, Maxwell; Rosales, Anastasiou, Boukhari (Mitea).
LAST TEN ENCOUNTERS
30/11/2003 Ajax – Feyenoord 2-0
9/2/2003 Ajax – Feyenoord 1-1
3/3/2002 Ajax – Feyenoord 1-1
13/5/2001 Ajax - Feyenoord 3-4
10/9/2000 Ajax - Feyenoord 2-2
11/4/2004 Feyenoord - Ajax 1-1
16/4/2003 Feyenoord - Ajax 1-0 (Amstel Cup)
6/10/2002 Feyenoord - Ajax 1-2
26/8/2001 Feyenoord - Ajax 1-2
10/12/2000 Feyenoord - Ajax 3-1