‘Good game against Shachtar gives confidence’
Feyenoord coach Slot ahead of duel with Sjachtar: ‘Will have to do a lot of things right’
There is almost nothing but talk in Rotterdam about Sunday’s Klassieker against Ajax, but first the Rotterdammers have to get going in the Europa League eighth finals on Thursday: Shachtar Donetsk awaits at home in De Kuip. And that is by no means a snack either.
Last week Feyenoord played a great game against the Ukrainians, but narrowly avoided a 1-1 draw.
“It was one of our best games in recent times,” coach Arne Slot looked back on Wednesday afternoon. “The boys did almost everything right: putting pressure, building up, it might have been a little better with exploiting chances. The only flaw was defending in standard situations, because that’s where the goal against fell from.”
“So we will have to do a lot of good tomorrow to reach the quarter-finals. Last week we also did a lot of good and it became a draw. So maybe we don’t have such a good starting position at all. Fortunately, we do have the supporters behind us tomorrow.”
Week of truth
Many of those supporters are already looking three days ahead, to the duel with arch-rival Ajax. Slot noticed the same when he ran an errand in a well-known electronics store on Wednesday.
“Good luck Sunday!” was shouted at me. To which I replied that we also have to play on Thursday. Against whom then, the man replied. That may well be a reflection of the rest of the Netherlands. But it is contrary to how we look at it,” Slot laughed.
Striker Alireza Jahanbakhsh also did not want to know anything about Ajax (yet). “Week of truth? Tomorrow’s match is very important and we are only concerned with that. Everyone is talking about the match against Ajax, but we haven’t said anything about that at all.”
Jahanbakhsh on important week Feyenoord: ‘Don’t talk about Ajax, only about Sjachtar’
“If the match tomorrow goes well, of course that does give more confidence for Sunday’s match,” Jahanbakhsh said.
Trauner in base?
At Feyenoord there is a chance that Gernot Trauner, who has been injured for a long time, will return to the starting lineup, although Slot did not want to give any certainty about that. “He is in very good shape and has also already filled in. Whether he is in the base, you will see tomorrow.”
Slot is not yet sure if he can call on Jahanbakhsh, who left training early on Tuesday. “He has nothing serious and things are already improving. But we’ll see how he trains later. Furthermore, Justin Bijlow, Quinten Timber and Patrik Wålemark are not there yet.”
At Shachtar, three defenders return who were suspended last week: Juchym Konoplja, Valeriy Bondar and Bohdan Mychajlychenko.