Is Feyenoord already claiming championship trophy with eight points ahead? ‘Absolutely not’
With a very broad smile, Feyenoord coach Arne Slot appeared before the camera after the 3-1 win over Sparta Rotterdam. Indeed, the Rotterdammers took a giant step towards the title after Ajax’s slip earlier in the day at Go Ahead Eagles (0-0).
The difference with rivals Ajax and PSV is eight points with seven games to go. Can Slot already feel the championship trophy?
“No, absolutely not. We also still have to play Go Ahead Eagles. Those have been able to take two points away from Ajax. For us there is no reason, even taking today’s match into account, to think about it somewhat easily.”
Ajax and PSV still meet AND AZ, where Feyenoord’s toughest opponent on paper is FC Utrecht.
Can Slot already feel the championship trophy with an eight-point lead? ‘No, absolutely not’
Against Sparta, Feyenoord were dominant, but as so often this season, the Rotterdammers had to work hard for the points. Still, the confidence to turn the game around was high among midfielder Mats Wieffer.
“We have done it more often and that gives confidence. Even if they score that very nice 1-1, we always keep the feeling that it’s going to be good.”
Slot did want to add a comment. “You win and that’s what today was all about. But I also told them how close this match is. Winning matches may not be as easy as it seems with us. We often succeed, but it has to come from afar.”
Courtesy of Wellenreuther
Wieffer, who had a dream week with his debut in the Dutch national team, did realize that Feyenoord got away well just before halftime. The midfielder caused a penalty kick with an unfortunate ball on his hand, but saw goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther play a heroic role.
The goalkeeper stopped Vito van Crooij’s penalty kick, while moments before he had also made a crucial save on a huge chance by the same Van Crooij. “Glad Wellenreuther got that ball out, though. And of course it’s nice for him too, so he can thank me,” Wieffer said with a wink.
Wieffer: ‘We always keep the feeling that it’s going to work out’
The replacement for the injured Justin Bijlow was also invaluable in the previous match by preventing an Ajax lead with a terrific save just before time.
Slot: “That was a really crucial save at 2-2. Even then, by the way, we didn’t deserve to go behind, just like now against Sparta. But that’s soccer, because it’s not about which club plays the best game, it’s about the chances.”
The coach wants to keep his team sharp and at this stage talking about a championship trophy would only distract. “But of course it’s always nice when you see that before the game Ajax, as the first pursuer, plays even. If you then leave with a win yourself, that’s obviously a very good Sunday for us.”
Was Wieffer up for a statement about the national title being up for grabs? “We are in a very good position. I don’t want to say anything else about it,” he concluded, laughing.