Thursday 28 January 2021 21:45

Philippe Clement: “Not sharp enough in those first thirty minutes”

Unblemished. That's what Club Brugge's record has been so far in 2021. Unlike in the game against Genk, Black & Blue had a rough start to the game, but managed to claim a well-deserved three points by the end.

“Clearly I'm happy with the three points. We deserved that win over the full ninety minutes", Philippe Clement started out. "Our first thirty minutes weren't inspired, however, as we weren't focused enough: in our dueling, depth, pace, way too much unnecessary ball loss. Apparently we needed that goal to be ready for the rest of the game. And we equalised still in the first half. Plenty of possession, yes, but just too little quality. Our second half was better. We then scored that second goal, making Cercle put more risk into their game, which could have allowed us to hurt them on the break and score that third. I'm happy with those last sixty minutes, but not with those first thirty.”

Philippe Clement
Philippe Clement

Cercle Brugge may not be in an enviable position in the league, but proved a formidable opponent nonetheless. "It's like I said prior to the game: it's just bizarre that they are where they are. They have been playing fine football throughout the season so far. They opted for the same tactics as they did against Kortrijk, and asked us questions at times too. You can see the hand of the coach in their play. They have plenty of players with a lot of quality, but maybe they lack that bit of efficiencey to really kill games.”

 

Two early substitutions for Lang and Vanaken lifted quite some eyebrows. “Noa conceded a blow to the knee in the first half, making it hard to play, so that's for that sub. Hans has been unlucky to be suspended right after the Winter's break. He still needs to gain some match rhythm. It was a tactical switch, as Balanta brought more balance to midfield, allowing Rits to infiltrate more. In the next few days, I'll be seeing just how my boys come out of this game. Some of them seemed a bit exhausted, but didn't show that when playing. It's a mental thing more than a physical, really. On Sunday, there's the clash with Standard de Liège. Those are the big games, and they have been doing well under Leye. I'll be looking into who will be starting that game in the upcoming days.” (VL)

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