Feyenoord coach bullish despite Champions League setbacks
ROTTERDAM (Reuters) - Feyenoord might have lost a third Champions League group match but their performance in their 2-1 home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk has encouraged coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst ahead of Sunday's Dutch league clash against Ajax Amsterdam.
"Morale is good...really," he told reporters after Feyenoord succumbed to their third defeat in Group F on their return to European football's elite club competition for the first time in 15 years.
"As a team we really showed something, we have attained a very high level and that has given us a lot of self-confidence for Sunday," van Bronckhorst said. Feyenoord's inter-city rivalry with Ajax is the biggest in Dutch football and Sunday's encounter will feature two teams both on 16 points, five behind leaders PSV Eindhoven.
Feyenoord next play in the Champions League against Shakhtar away on Nov. 1, still seeking their first points in the group. "That is not as bad as it sounds if you look at the group that we are in," the Feyenoord coach said. Manchester City and Napoli are the other two sides in the pool.
"The difference in quality is far too big, even if we took the lead against Shakhtar. You can see their players are used to competing at this level. But we played a really good game and made a step forward in the right direction.
"My players are learning a lot from these sorts of game and I think we can still produce something in the future."
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)