Feyenoord is back in Rome and sees ‘unlikely number of good players’
Slot returns to Rome with Feyenoord: ‘Better in all facets of the game’
Feyenoord can finally revenge for last year’s Conference League final tomorrow. In May 2022, the Rotterdammers lost the final match 1-0 to AS Roma. Thursday night the Italians are the opponent again, in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Feyenoord are defending a 1-0 lead after winning at home last week. Trainer Arne Slot thinks it won’t be easy tomorrow. According to him, Roma has “an unlikely number of good players” due to “inexhaustible financial possibilities.”
Slot did well to see his team offer handsome resistance in the first game. If this succeeds again tomorrow – a draw is enough to qualify for the semifinals – then it is safe to say that Feyenoord are engaged in a very special European campaign for the second year in a row.
Slot finds it difficult to compare the current Feyenoord with last year’s team. “You tend to glorify the team you worked with last. I often enjoyed last year and I do so again now. And at AZ I also had a lot of good players with Teun Koopmeiners, Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs.”
AS Roma coach José Mourinho also gave a press conference on Wednesday.
Mourinho: ‘Respect for Feyenoord, but I trust my players’
Feyenoord will play in a sold-out Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night. It is the second time this season that Feyenoord has played there. In September, the club went down the tubes when it lost 4-2 to Roma’s city rival SS Lazio.
The stadium does not trigger any special feelings for Slot. “I was mostly curious about the pitch. That was bad then, but is good now.” As for the locker room, Slot does have some memories. “Something did come to mind there,” referring to the defeat earlier this year.
One of the few Feyenoord players who looks back positively on that defeat is Mats Wieffer. He made his debut for Feyenoord in Rome. Then followed a stormy development, including a selection for Oranje and the winning goal against Roma last week.
He also extended his contract at Feyenoord earlier this week until 2027. “That’s a sign that things are going well,” he said.
Wieffer made his debut in Rome and pretends to be Slot: ‘Hard work’
His good play is also increasing interest in the Twente midfielder. “I’m not concerned with that. I didn’t extend for nothing. That says enough, I think. First we have to win tomorrow. I have a lot of confidence in that.”