Kökçü briefly finished with Ajax bravado and is already thinking about title party Coolsingel
‘No words, but deeds’ has long been Feyenoord’s adage. That was demonstrated once again at the Johan Cruijff Arena, where the Rotterdammers thumped Ajax in the title race by winning the Klassieker 3-2.
Feyenoord came into the match energized, after Ajax coach John Heitinga had branded his team favorites last week.
Captain Orkun Kökçü made his annoyance with the Amsterdam bravado clear in front of ESPN’s cameras immediately after the win: “Personally, I was a little done with them thinking they are the best. They talk a lot before the game, but the way we are in it with Feyenoord: no words, but deeds. And we showed that again today.”
A few minutes later, when the adrenaline had subsided a bit, Kökçü reacted a lot calmer: “That was right after the match, still in pure emotion. Then you sometimes shout things.”
Kökçü was done with Ajax-bravura for a while: ‘But right after the match you sometimes shout things’
The Feyenoord captain even showed some understanding for the Amsterdam attitude: “Ajax is a big club with many prizes, it’s also a bit normal that they say that. They do it more often, and it’s also nice, a bit of bravado.”
Heard a lot
Coach Arne Slot was also not surprised by the texts from Amsterdam before the match: “It would be a bit crazy if an Ajax coach had no bravado, that’s in their DNA. But it wasn’t just the coach, we heard quite a lot that we would be hopeless here in the Arena.”
“But I don’t believe that’s what determines winning a game. You have to play good soccer for that,” Slot said.
Is Slot already thinking about Coolsingel? ‘Are in good shape, but nothing comes naturally’
And Feyenoord did play good soccer, especially in the second half. Slot: “I said at halftime that we had a lot more time and space than we thought. And that we were far too impatient on the ball. Do more what you can, I said.”
Preparing for Coolsingel
Feyenoord took the initiative, winning in Amsterdam for the first time in eighteen years and putting the arch-rival six points behind. Can Mayor Aboutaleb already begin preparations for a title celebration at Coolsingel?
“The program is definitely favorable, our rivals still have to face each other,” Kökçü analyzed. “I hope our mayor is going to save a little time for Feyenoord.”
Watch the Ajax-Feyenoord recap and other reactions:
Slot didn’t shy away from comments about Coolsingel either: “It’s a very logical question given the standings. We know we are in very good shape, but it has been necessary in recent weeks, and again today, that we score in the last minutes. So nothing comes naturally.”
“We played really good soccer, especially the second half. If you see the work ethic, we’ll have to bring that up for eight more games to stay in this spot.”
Two yellow for Hartman?
There was a lot of talk afterwards about Quilindschy Hartman’s foul on Mohammed Kudus midway through the first half. The Feyenoord-back already had yellow in his pocket, but did not receive a second yellow card from referee Danny Makkelie.
Referee Makkelie explains: ‘Second foul Hartman was not a yellow card’
Ajax coach John Heitinga was clear: “Sometimes VAR is to your advantage, sometimes it is to your disadvantage. Today you could have cancelled VAR.” Slot, who substituted Hartman immediately after the moment, said afterwards, “If he didn’t have yellow, it’s not out of the question that he would have gotten another yellow card.”
Makkelie explained afterwards why he did not give Hartman a red card: “It was a careless, but not a reckless foul, and it was not a promising attack. It was definitely not a second yellow card.”