At the Feyenoord press conference Wednesday afternoon Bert van Marwijk once again emphasised that the Rotterdammers can make history Thursday night in the Kuip by booking their place in the UEFA Cup final. ‘We are playing against one of the best sides in Europe, but we have a great opportunity to reach the final. And we might never get another chance like this. This is a unique moment in the career of myself and the players.’

A disciplined performance, with a minimum of risks and maximum effort. That is the best way for Feyenoord to tackle Inter Milan for the second time in a week according to Van Marwijk. ‘We have to try to play our own game. That’s sometimes easier and sometimes harder to do, but things have gone very well on the international stage till now. We have to rely on our own strengths and especially not lose the ball, certainly not in the middle of the park. In Milan those were the only moments we got into trouble.’ ITALIANS LICKING THEIR WOUNDS Van Marwijk expects to come up against a wounded lion in the Kuip. ‘I think they’ll go all out. Everyone keeps saying they are staking everything on the league, but I don’t believe a word of it. They are top sportsmen and the home defeat will have given them a bit of a jolt. I expect them to attack. They did that in Milan too, more than I had expected them to.’ ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS The Feyenoord coach felt no need to speculate on whether Inter superstars Ronaldo and Vieri would be risked. ‘They have a whole bunch of players like that, just as they have a squad with more quality than ours. We’ll see soon enough.’ That those very stars, not least Ronaldo have made condescending noises about the quality of Feyenoord has not gone unnoticed, but Van Marwijk refuses to get involved in slanging matches. ‘I’m not interested in joining in the provocation, but I will turn it to my advantage. Everything I hear like that, I pass on to the players if they haven’t already heard it themselves. It has to be an extra incentive for us to go all out. This is a unique opportunity in everyone’s career. You mightn’t get another one.’ The home side’s tactics will remain under wraps till kickoff, although Van Marwijk did foresee the Rotterdammers taking on Inter in a similar way to the first leg. Shinji Ono’s absence will probably be countered by moving Brett Emerton into midfield. Chris Gyan may fill in for the Aussie at right back. Whatever happens, Chilean international Mauricio Aros will replace Polish international Tomasz Rzasa on the left. THE KALOU PRINCIPLE The key to victory may rest with Bonaventure Kalou. The striker has been in blistering form recently, but pulled up in San Siro with a hamstring problem. The big question in Rotterdam right now is, will he or won’t he? The Ivorian trained Wednesday as hoped, under the watchful eye of his coach. ‘I watched him extra closely and it looks like he isn’t being hampered,’ says Van Marwijk. ‘But training is obviously not the same as a game. At the moment though it does look like he’ll be in the team Thursday.’ PROBABLE TEAM Zoetebier; Gyan, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Aros; Kalou, Bosvelt, Emerton, Van Persie; Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
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