Philippe Clement: “My team showed mentality this time”

It was only by the end of the game that Blue and Black was able to create some distance with a solid pressing Ostend side, goals by Diatta and Badji in the final minutes of a 1-3 win. The away win takes Club back to the top of the league, at the relief of coach Philippe Clement.

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“No mixed feelings after this game, as Ostend is a force to be reckoned with, a tough team to combat, leaving only little space. My players handled that well today. I reckon we must have had 65 to 70 % possession this game, which wasn't all that obvious with the pressing Ostend put the entire game. Whether everything else was perfect? No, definitely not. What I saw was that my team did show the right mentality this time and created more chances than our opponents. So it's a well-merited win. Ostend just has a very solid organisation. Last year after the season our physical stats were the best. This year, it's even better when it comes to distance covered, high-intensity and sprints. But at this point, Ostend is in first place in this respect. It just goes to show that they're putting in some fine work here.”

It was only late in the game that Club was able to create the gap, seeing the replacements pay off. "We had our chances to score earlier on. That red card they conceded was also something we forced them in, as we were asking them all kinds of questions with our players. It's an interaction. Dennis didn't convince me entirely today, I expected more of him, really. I'll be analysing his performances individually with him in order to make some progress in the coming months. Today we managed to score goals, it's just the matter of things. That's why it's positive. My group reacted well, and did what was asked of them. Against Dortmund, but also today. The commitment in our group is something we need to take to the following months."

 

At this point in the league, there's not a single team that outdoes the competition. "I'm trying to get the group to gain as many points as we can on a game-to-game basis. At the end of the ride, that table will be vital when decisions need to be taken. It goes to show that no team is much better than the others right now. What we did last season, is impossible this time. And no other team is capable of the same if you see how close they all are.“

 

Another international break after an away win. "No club coach is a big fan of these international breaks. You want to keep working with the boys and keep matters under control such as their load. But now another international game has been added to the schedule. We won't have any control in the next two weeks. We try to keep COVID-19 outside the door. My players enjoyed one free day in the past four weeks; they only see us and their families. Now they'll be joining different bubbles again. Maybe I'm a bit too sensitive in this respect because I always had players return with an infection after the past two international breaks. So I'm holding my breath, it's something I can't control.”

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