Wednesday 14 September 2022 00:15

Carl Hoefkens: “Pieces of the puzzle fitted”

A clearly satisfied coach Carl Hoefkens at the conclusion of the away game at FC Porto. He offered his views on several aspects of the game.

“In a way, I had expected a scenario like this", a satisfied coach kicked off. "Meaning that you start making plans for this game, and hope your players can execute them perfectly. When you then see that they actually do it during the game, then nights like this really do happen. You should keep in mind, however, that all pieces of the puzzle neat to fit together neatly, which was the case today. I was convinced that we would be able to get a result here, and I also indicated as such to my players beforehand. What I didn't expect, was that the result would be this emphatic.”

What struck most was the calm that reigned over Hoefkens, even after Club scored. "It's true that I try to eliminate emotions as much as I can. I reckon a lot of things can happen after a goal, both in your advantage as against. When you are too euphoric, disappointed or happy as a coach, you tend to miss out on a lot of details. I want to see how my players react, and this goes for those on the pitch, but also for those on the bench. I want to see how my staff reacts, and I want to see how the stadium reacts. Those are the kinds of things you can react on in those moments, and in my opinion that's also really important. Those moments of euphoria will mostly be in the dressing rooms. For me, it's an absolute feeling of satisfaction, which I feel today too, obviously. Even if you wouldn't say so just by looking at me...”
Club Brugge's mission remains the same, however. “Our goal is to take on every game under the best of circumstances, which also goes for the home league. Prior to each Champions League game, I always said that is our intention to win each game. So I am utterly happy with how my players go for it with all of their hearts. I am talking about really believing in it. When we do things perfectly, really everything, it is not that unimaginable what we have just done today.”

The five star performance doesn't mean the coach has lost his cool. “As a coach, I would rank this victory still below the one we had at Leuven. That win was vital for the progress of the team, for the belief in the way we play football at Club Brugge. Today's win is just a confirmation for me. Back then, I was still in doubt whether we would be able to bring those tactical ideas to the pitch, and after that game I really absolutely believed we could do it. It proved the start of a great home league run. I'm just very satisfied with everyone in this group. It may be a cliché, but it's the absolute truth. Some individual qualities and performances obviously please me even more, and when you take a look at every single individual performance per position, you can only conclude that everyone did a truly terrific job. Otherwise you wouldn't be winning here 0-4. Don't forget that this is also because of those on the bench and in the selection showing professional behaviour. They give me the chance to help those starting today to grow and to help me as a coach too, but also themselves in the end. They can also show what they've got this way. Dedryck (Boyata) put in a fine performance at Seraing and came on well replacing Sylla today. And that's the kind of things you want to see as a coach.”

The press rehashed Sylla's disappointment upon his substitution. "It was an item for a short time, with him coming off so slowly. It happened in the past that players get booked for that, and that would have been a second yellow. That would have jeopardised the remainder of the game for our team. But I do have to point out that Abakar keeps taking huge steps. The way he is playing now, you can only be proud as a coach. Such audacity in such a young player, I can also understand why he was disappointed to be taken off. I'm happy even for his reaction.”

A final word for tonight's opponents, Porto. "I thought Porto played an agressive game, but I noticed they had trouble with our pressing, both by our defenders and our forwards. That asked them a lot of questions they just couldn't find a solution to. At half time, I asked my players to keep putting on the pressure until they literally fell down. They just have to wave to get substituted then. This was the foundation on which we put up our game plan today. Finding the right balance between possession and loss was key today. In possession, we knew they would be putting a lot of pressure. So it was important to find the space. When they were in possession, we needed to put pressing on their defense. That's a lot to ask of my players, but the way in which they executed that plan today, makes that win all the more sweet”, a satisfied Club Brugge boss concluded.

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