Bert van Marwijk reflected on a job well done tonight - and warned there was more to come from his Feyenoord side. "We did a good job," he said after the UEFA Cup holders' 1-0 win at Newcastle United FC. "I think we're getting stronger with every game."
The win leaves Feyenoord joint top of Group E with Juventus FC, having taken four points from their opening two matches. The Rotterdam side, who host FC Dynamo Kyiv next week, are unbeaten in eight matches this season and owed this success to a fine first-half performance, prompted by the dream start given them by Sebastián Pardo's fourth-minute goal.
'We created chances'
"I expected a storm from Newcastle at the start but we started well and scored an early goal," said Van Marwijk. The goal followed some sloppy Newcastle defending as Andy O'Brien headed the ball straight to Pardo and the Chilean winger sent a fierce left-foot volley over Shay Given. Van Marwijk continued: "Then we created three or four chances and we had to score a second at that point. We didn't and it was a problem in the second half as they put us under pressure."
Feyenoord stretched Newcastle with their slick passing in the first half. Thomas Buffel should have made it two in the ninth minute but steered a shot wide when clean through, and Paul Bosvelt and Brett Emerton also went close. "Their best spell was in the first half for 15 minutes," conceded Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson.
'A cruel night'
However, Robson still considered defeat "cruel" on his team. "What's the difference between the teams? We made one mistake, they didn't make any," he said, referring to Feyenoord's goal. "We're extremely disappointed and feel very unfortunate. I think it's been a cruel night for the team. We played reasonably well and and if we'd got one goal I think we'd have won the game. But we didn't get a single break in the box all night."
Praise for Zoetebier
Newcastle certainly created chances. Even during a disappointing first-half display it took a goalline clearance from Brett Emerton to deny Craig Bellamy after he had beaten Edwin Zoetebier. Into the second half and Zoetebier tipped over Nolberto Solano's diving header on the hour and, from the resulting corner, Shinji Ono cleared an Alan Shearer header off the line. "There was a lot of pressure but our goalkeeper was very good today," said Van Marwijk.
'Difficult to proceed'
In the closing stages, Bellamy's dipping shot hit the crossbar but it was not to be. Robson joked he would "have to take an army to Juventus" for Newcastle's next match, admitting this second successive defeat makes it "very difficult to progress" for his side. The same does not apply to Feyenoord who go from strength to strength.
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