Feyenoord feel that they must overcome the toughest team left in the UEFA Cup if they are to realise the dream of reaching the final at their home stadium on 8 May following today's draw for the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.
Top of the pile
Coach Bert van Marwijk knows that his side will have to be at their best against Internazionale FC, who are currently joint top of Serie A with AS Roma after some impressive domestic displays and stated that of the three teams that Feyenoord could have been paired with, Inter were the ones that he most wanted to avoid:
Hoping for Milan AC
"Internazionale are definitely the best of the four semi-finalists," van Marwijk said. "Personally I was hoping for Milan as we would have had more chances against them. Inter's strength is shown by the fact that they are leading the Italian Serie A and eliminating Valencia [CF] is another sign of how good they are. It's good for us that we are playing away in the first match because it gives us the chance to capitalise at home on a good result in the first leg."
Giacinto Facchetti, Inter's spokesman, was grateful to be meeting the Eredivisie team in the semi-finals, as opposed to the final, which is to be played in their own stadium. "After having beaten Valencia, which could have been a final, it doesn't matter about who we got now. At this stage it's anyway like a final in every match, and thus very difficult. We were hoping not to meet AC Milan. It would not be nice to play a local derby in the semi-finals; it would be much nicer to play them in the final. To play Feyenoord in the semi-finals is also better, because facing them in the final we would have had to play a single match at their ground. Whereas in the semi-finals we will play both in Milan and Rotterdam."
'An excellent team'
"I don't know that much about Feyenoord, but our coach and players will have the opportunity in the next two weeks to see them play and find out about them," Facchetti added. "I know that they have some national team players. Moreover, Dutch football is one of the best in the world. Therefore, Feyenoord are certainly an excellent team no matter who plays for them.
'Fatigue becomes secondary'
"I consider that our squad is so big that it should be possible for us to play in two competitions. We are now approaching the last 40 days of the season, and therefore I cannot see reasons why the players should consider one competition more than another. When you have the final target in front of you, fatigue becomes secondary."
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