Philippe Clement: “Our best game in two years Champions League”

Philippe Clement witnessed his team putting in a mighty effort against Lazio Roma. The three points did not come as the prize, despite a number of chances for the hosts, settling for a 1-1 draw.

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“We deserved the three points today. I told my players I had mixed emotions. For 90% I'm extremely proud about what we have shown today. High pressure, finding the right space against a very compact and sturdy team, coming back after trailing, and with the attitude to keep going for the win. The remaining ten percent is disappointment that we didn't finish them off. In a footballing respect, this has been our best game in the Champions League in the past two years. Pace of playing was really, really good. Let's not forget that we have plenty of youngsters in our team. They still need to take that extra step, which is only logical. In their team, the youngest was 24, which is quite a difference. It's that tiny detail, that coldbloodedness in front of goal, that still needs improvement. When we get that, we will have many more fine evenings in store.”

Philippe Clement
Philippe Clement

The draw keeps Club level with Lazio at the top of Group F, with 4 out of 6 so far. "No reason to start calculating. We'll give it everything we've got to keep competing until the end of the road. We do realise the difference in size of budget with the three other teams. We will have to make the most of our eagerness and quality. That turned out well in the first two games. I hope my players will be able to keep repeating that six games on end. It's not easy to show what you've got in games of this amplitude. There's no need for disappointment here. We are very proud of what we've shown. 4 out of 6 would have pleased everyone.”

 

The assembled press was eager to find out just why Kossounou was preferred over Mechele in the heart of defense. "Odilon started today, but it could just as well have been Brandon. It's not as if my players can start every single game. What's most important is that all my players are ready to play. Which is why I will be rotating in defense too. Brandon has had a fabulous game at Zenit, and now it was Odilon's turn to star against Lazio. These games offer an excellent chance to gain so much experience.”

 

Club's next encounter sees KV Mechelen come visit Jan Breydel, but it's still too soon to know whether the game will actually be taking place. "I always hope that all games take place. Today's reality means we always have to wait and see who can play and who cannot. We need to go through the motions and make sure w're ready to play. I do hope that we can play this game, and continue along the lines we are playing now.” (SF)

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