TIME TO CONVERT GROWING CONFIDENCE INTO POINTS

While the results have been mixed, Feyenoord have been showing signs of improvement recently and Sunday’s Eredivisie home game against ADO Den Haag is a perfect opportunity for coach Van Marwijk’s young side to scale the learning curve a little bit more and bag three points in the process. The coach will be able to remain a near unchanged side, with only Alfred Schreuder unavailable due to a suspension, and that will surely help the Rotterdammers.

Van Marwijk confirmed that his squad is growing in confidence. The result in Amsterdam last week was disappointing, but the coach certainly doesn’t think that everything is doom and gloom. We didn’t feel we played badly against Ajax. The disparity was less significant than we originally thought. We certainly haven’t lost any self-belief. It has actually increased. But we do now have to convert that confidence into points, starting this Sunday against ADO.’ The coach has a large group of players to choose from against the Eredivisie new boys. Apart from long-term treatment room regulars De Nooijer, Leonardo and Lazovic, the only absentee is Alfred Schreuder, who is ruled out of the game through suspension. His replacement is still undecided, if Van Marwijk is to be believed, but ‘Sebastián Pardo is an option. He is capable of playing there. That will make the team very attack-minded, so he will have to play behind the ball. But if Pardo plays there, Paauwe can sweep up the upcoming players behind him.’ Van Marwijk could also choose Acuña or Ghaly to replace Schreuder, but ‘Acuña has been out for a long time and he’s just come back. Ghaly is not as far along as Pardo. He comes from another football culture where he could do anything he wanted. He had nine supporting players around him. At that moment he can make the difference. Now he has to adapt to our game. Even in the reserves he made crucial mistakes, and I’ve not even mentioned the first team. He’ll only get better if he is patient and remains in the Netherlands as much as possible. That means not opting for Egypt Under 21s, but for Feyenoord. But Ghaly certainly has good qualities. The same goes for Lazovic. But the difference is that Danko is learning Dutch intensively. You see that that makes him more garrulous and he dares to do more. Learning Dutch is obligatory. I really can't stand it when a player isn’t motivated to do that.’ Salomon Kalou takes his place on the bench again after a fine display as an impact substitute against Ajax. ‘In the Arena, everyone saw that he is talented, but he also needs time. There are calls for a first team place for Kalou. That is too opportunistic. I’m happy he could come on and get a taste of football in a full stadium,’ explained Van Marwijk. Holland Casino Eredivisie FEYENOORD-ADO DEN HAAG Sunday 7 December 2003 Where: De Kuip When: 2.30pm Probable Feyenoord team Lodewijks; Swerts, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Snoyl; Lurling, Ono, Pardo, Van Persie; Buffel, Kuyt.
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