Every question was answered with a big smile. Brian Riemer makes a sympathetic impression in the run-up to his first match as Anderlecht coach, but sympathy will not suffice. It’s do or die against Genk tonight. The Dane tries to keep the pressure off. “Everyone expects Genk to win.”
What do you think of being the first opponent to immediately meet Racing Genk, the best team at the moment?
“It’s a nice challenge. It will immediately be clear where we stand. It might have been a bit more difficult to measure ourselves against a smaller team, but Genk is indeed the best team at the moment. Their stats speak for themselves. My players are looking forward to it.”
Do you feel the players are physically ready for your style of play?
“We are not in bad shape, but with every team where you change the way of playing, you have to count on an adjustment period. What I see in training is good and our friendlies also offer perspectives. We are still at an early stage in terms of where we want to get to, but we have already made great strides forward.”
What do you remember from the recent exhibition games?
“I’m always careful about drawing conclusions from friends’ matches. I have seen many positive elements. I want to focus on that now. I don’t expect anything to be executed perfectly yet on Tuesday, but I do expect a strong performance. I expect a great collective effort, so that we have at least done everything we can to push through.”
It is immediately one of the most important games of the season, because it probably shouldn’t come from the competition. Is that difficult?
“We still want to finish as high as possible in the league, so every game is equally important to me. In my view, the pressure is on Genk, because they play at home and because everyone expects them to win after their phenomenal performance earlier this season.”
Can you say that as a coach of Anderlecht?
“I am ambitious and I want to push through, but you cannot look away from reality. They have not lost in twenty games. Then it would be foolish to say that we are going to roll them up. We still see ourselves as the biggest club in Belgium, and from now on we have to show that too.”
Are you afraid of a false start? There is pressure.
“I’ve only been here for two weeks. We have to build everything thoroughly, with our own way of playing, and that will take time.”
How do you personally prepare for the game against Genk? It’s your first assignment as head coach.
“It’s very exciting. I’m here to bring Anderlecht back to where it belongs, but I can’t bring magic.”
Is everyone fit?
“Benito Raman will not play, but will train again.”
What is Wesley Hoedt’s situation?
“He is doing very well in training, but otherwise his situation has not changed.”
Is it an option that he plays against Genk?
“As I said, his situation has not changed. For questions about this, please refer to management.”