Philippe Clement: “Match to be proud of”

The Blues put in a solid performance, claiming a draw against big guns Manchester United. In Maxim De Cuyper, Philippe Clement had a surprise du chef in the Starting XI, and the young winger definitely made a mark.

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“I'm proud of my players, of my group, and of my youngsters who showed what they've got today. Even if you hope for a fine performance, it's always a bit of a gamble. You never know how someone will react playing in a stadium like this. But Maxim did a very fine job, just like Charles (De Ketelaere, edit) when he made his debut in the Champions League. It's a match we can be proud of. In order to beat Man United, everything has to be top, and it all has to fall into place. Two minutes into the game, we should have always been awarded a spot kick. The keeper went in with both feet on Dennis, so he should have been sent off. It's a pity that didn't turn out our way. After that, we did score, which obviously boosted our morale. Unfortunately we conceded a goal we could have avoided. After that, we kept playing football, and by the end of the game we even had more chances than they did. That's something to be very, very proud of.”

Philippe Clement
Philippe Clement

Somewhat surprisingly, Ruud Vormer started out on the bench, but this was because the Dutchman wasn't entirely fit. “We work very hard to keep tabs on all of our players. So we always see how fresh everyone is, and decide with those parameters who plays and who doesn't. Our players have now just played 8 games in 28 days, that's quite a lot. To boot, Ruud, along with Hans, is the player playing the most. It ws vital not to surcharge him, but I'm convinced Ruud will be recovered by Sunday. Whether it's a pity for him not to be playing a team the likes of Manchester United? I have a fantastic relationship with my players, and also with my skipper. I explained the situation to him, and he saw where I was coming from.”

 

Just like he did against Real Madrid, Emmanuel Dennis again showcased his skills in Europe, scoring a great lob, and giving Man U skipper Harry Maguire a rough night out in Bruges. “Dennis did what I expected of him. Earlier on, in the Champions League, he already showed he's got lots of potential. He's the type of player with lots of qualities, but also with room for growth. And that's what we try working on on a daily basis. He is capable of causing pain to any defense, especially when there's room in the back.”

 

The draw means Club is still in the running to get past Man United to the next round. "Our chances of qualifying are still the same as prior to the game. Ball park figure: 30%. Just like today, it will all have to go our way next week. But Man United will be forewarned. I'm not thinking about qualifying all too much. I'm just contemplating how we can show as much gusto in the return game. This is a golden opportunity for this young outfit to gain experience.” (SF)

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