Ivan Leko and Mats Rits offer their views on Club – Salzburg
Spring starts early in Europe. Tomorrow, Club Brugge hosts the game against FC Salzburg; Mats Rits and coach Ivan Leko weighed Club's chances, and showed ambition on the eve of the continuation of the European campaign.
Mats Rits: “Focus solely on Thursday”
Rits, often in the Starting XI lately, joined Ivan Leko at the press conference. The midfielder immediately stressed that Club's focus lies on Thursday's encounter, not on that of Sunday. "We always take things one game at a time. Our focus will always be on our next game, you can't go focussing on two things at a time.” Serious competition promises to come from Salzburg. “We realise they have a fine team, capable of beating many a top team, but our intention is to continue the story we started writing in the Champions League. We play at home, so we need to keep a clean sheet, and hopefully win too. Whether the pitch will play its role? The pitch is the same for both teams. It's not in optima forma, but we will still try to bring our best football.”
Ivan Leko: “Need to bring the best version of ourselves”
Not exactly the best of runs for Cub Brugge's T1, particularly result-wise, but Ivan Leko likes to paint the whole picture. "I cannot be unhappy with what I see at training. Everyone gives it everything he's got, day in, day out. Results are vital, of course, and we do want to get things straightened out sooner rather than later, but based on our efforts and quality, I reckon we deserved better than what we got from our first few games in 2019. Particularly in our last two games, and, even if I don't like to debate details, some decisions out of our control just cost us 4 points. There's no use crying about it, but there's no way we can claim those points again." In Europe, Club has had a fine set of games, but Salzburg heralds to be a fiesty opponent. "We owe it to ourselves to show the best version there is of Club Brugge. Salzburg has been doing great in Europe, two years running now. We haven't been able to send a scout to a live game, but you know how these teams play: offensive, attractive, with gusto and energy. The Europa League is all that matters today and tomorrow. After the Champions League, we owe it to our standing and to Belgian football to defend our honour in Europe. It is now, in a rough time of the season, up to myself, our staff, the players and the fans to show what Club is all about, to show that we believe in ourselves.”
One player is still missing in Club's selection, Arnaut Danjuma. “It's a pity he's not available, but also an opportunity for the other guys. He has been very decisive for us, and we miss him, but there's no use lamenting that. We hoped to have him back by early February, but it will still be a couple of weeks before his return.”