Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is impressed with Feyenoord’s performance this season. During the working visit, the former coach of the Rotterdam team saw a very united group of players and a great will to win. Ronald Koeman also discussed the situation of Dutch players and revealed a name that is already included in his pre-call.
In his time as coach of Feyenoord, Ronald Koeman often had to work with a lack of money to improve the club’s structure.
“At the time I worked as a coach at Feyenoord, the club was still struggling to stay financially strong, but it was always behind clubs like Ajax, for example” said Ronald Koeman.
During his work visits as coach of the Dutch national team in 2017 and now, Ronald Koeman saw a new Feyenoord.
“Everything changed there at the new training center. There is peace to work with and we realized that there was a good investment in the structure for the players and coaching staff. A big difference in climate we could feel when comparing what we found in Feyenoord, PSV and Ajax. While at Feyenoord we felt that we were all wanting to work hard to achieve good things this season, at PSV and Ajax the feeling is the complete opposite” said Ronald Koeman.
The 60-year-old Dutch boss recalled his first successes as Feyenoord coach. He didn’t win a national title in 2012, but he was honored for second place.
“We finished the Eredivisie in 10th place the previous season. We had a lot of young players in our squad. Second place was to reward the great work we developed throughout the season. We got a spot in the Champions League Play-Offs, which was very important financially for the club.”
Regarding his next call-up, Ronald Koeman said he remains concerned about Jasper Cillessen’s psychology.
“We are concerned about that. It can happen to any goalkeeper. But I was more shocked by the last goal he conceded against SC Heerenveen. This also shows how much he needs to improve his confidence in his own work”, commented Ronald Koeman.
The coach confirmed that Jasper Cillessen is in the squad for the Dutch squad for the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League.
“Obviously he is not off our list. If he is fit, he is a potential goalkeeper for the Dutch national team” said Ronald Koeman.
Jasper Cillessen saved the Netherlands goal at the end of March in the last matches against France and Gibraltar. Mark Flekken and Bart Verbruggen were the other two called up. Justin Bijlow was injured and not considered by Ronald Koeman, but he returned to action for Feyenoord. Andries Noppert is not yet available.
Ronald Koeman also praised Mats Wieffer’s performance in Feyenoord’s midfield. The coach of the Dutch national team sees the young player from the Stadionclub as an important competitor for Marten de Roon in the Dutch national team, alongside Frenkie de Jong.
“Marten de Roon is no longer my first choice as it was on my first stint. Mats Wieffer will be able to play alongside Frenkie de Jong, but that will take time to happen”, commented Ronald Koeman.
He acknowledged that the criticism over his work and choices in the first game against France was justified.
“I was also disappointed. There were several reasons, of course. We lost a lot of players to health problems and injuries. We had five sick players. With less than seven minutes, we were already two goals down. Losing a game against France away from home is normal, but not the way we play. Regarding the game against Gibraltar, we won, but we didn’t play what we should have played”, commented Ronald Koeman.
To improve the performance of the Dutch team in the semi-final against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League, Donyell Malen is seen as an important part of this change of posture. This weekend, the Dutch striker scored his ninth goal this year, the most by any player in the Bundesliga.
“I’m not surprised. He made his debut with the Dutch national team on my first spell and even scored his debut. I was happy that he started playing on the right at Borussia Dortmund. This is a solution for us, because Cody Gakpo, Xavi Simons and Steven Bergwijn can perform better with me playing on the left. It’s great that he plays well in that position” said Ronald Koeman.