Dirk Kuyt is wary of Feyenoord suffering a backlash after Manchester United’s derby defeat when the teams meet in the Europa League.
Jose Mourinho’s side lost 2-1 at home to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, bringing an end to their 100 per cent winning start to the campaign.
The first opportunity for United to respond to that disappointing reverse will come in UEFA’s second-tier competition in Rotterdam on Thursday.
And Feyenoord veteran Kuyt, who formerly represented United’s rivals Liverpool, is braced for a tough challenge against motivated opponents at De Kuip.
“They are in a phase where the pressure is very high, because they must win the Premier League,” he told Goal.
“They’ve lost this weekend, so that must be tough to deal with. I really wonder which players they will bring to Rotterdam this week. We will just have to fight and hopefully they play with a slightly [different] team then against City.”
Perhaps set to count in United’s favour is the fact Feyenoord’s traditionally intimidating home will only be half-full, as a result of UEFA sanctions imposed due to crowd disorder against Roma in February 2015.
“We’re not playing in a full stadium but we will go for a good result,” Kuyt said.
“De Kuip is always something special on a European night, we’ve seen that last year during cup matches, like against Ajax. Of course it will be different now the capacity is halved, but our crowd still gives us a big boost.”
Kuyt is also expecting a hot reception in the return fixture at Old Trafford on November 24 due to his past Liverpool connections.
“The rivalry between United and Liverpool is very big,” he said.
“I think I will really notice it during the away game at Manchester. I once scored a hat-trick against them and once in the FA Cup I scored a last-minute winner. They don’t like me very that much over there.”