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<-Page <-Team Thu 21 Oct 2004 Feyenoord 3 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
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Craig Levein <-auth Graham Bean auth-> Tonny Kolbech Poulsen
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Levein pinpoints threat of Kalou


CRAIG Levein, the Hearts head coach, has identified Salomon Kalou as Feyenoord’s main threat after watching the striker from the Ivory Coast impress in the Rotterdam club’s 2-0 away win over Roda JC yesterday.

The result puts Ruud Gullit’s side joint top of the Dutch Eredivisie ahead of their UEFA Cup group match with Hearts at the Feyenoord Stadium on Thursday.

Following a goalless first half, Dirk Kuijt broke the deadlock on the hour and Kalou wrapped up the scoring in the last minute as Feyenoord join PSV Eindhoven at the head of the table.

Both clubs are level on 19 points but PSV have played a game less after their match at ADO Den Haag on Saturday was abandoned late on due to abusive chants from the crowd directed at the referee.

Levein left Hearts’ game with Celtic early on Saturday in order to take in the match in the Netherlands and he was impressed with what he saw.

"Kalou stood out," the Tynecastle coach told Radio Scotland. "He’s only a young lad, but he’s exceptional. He’s top scorer in Holland just now and in two or three years I think he’ll develop into a really top player. He’s quite strong, good with both feet and will pose a real threat to us.

"Their right-winger Romeo Castelen is another we’ll have to keep an eye on. He’s just broken into the Dutch national team."

Kalou, 19, is considering applying for Dutch citizenship in a bid to play for Holland and has already received encouragement from Marco van Basten, the new national coach. With nine goals in eight games this season, the younger brother of Bonaventure Kalou, who moved from Feyenoord to Auxerre in 2003, is the man of the moment in Dutch football.

While acknowledging their strength in attack, Levein took heart from some of Feyenoord’s less than convincing defending.

"I was encouraged by the fact that Roda created a heap of chances. If I was going to split Feyenoord’s team into the three basic parts, I would say the weakest part is their defence.

"We’ll have to be very good to get anything from the match, but at the same time I think we can score over there."

Once again, Levein is sweating over the fitness of Mark de Vries for a big European tie. The striker has a poisoned toe but is still expected to start on Thursday.

"We’re hoping Mark will be fit because we think his physical presence will trouble the Feyenoord defence. He’s vital to our chances of picking up any points in this game."

Taken from the Scotsman

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