Barely two days after Argentina’s unforgettable World Cup triumph, the ball is already rolling in Belgium. AA Gent will receive Cercle Brugge in the 1/8th finals of the Croky Cup on Tuesday evening. A poster that Hein Vanhaezebrouck is wary of: “You can’t put things right because there is only one match. Whether it is against Cercle or Club Brugge or Deinze, every team is dangerous.”
“We made it through the internship well”, the Ghent coach looked back on the internship in Oliva, Spain. “I think we finished a good stage. We also found the boys who stayed at home well. Lemajic also took to the field for the first time today. He underwent about the same procedure as Gianni Bruno, so that can go quickly. With the exception of Tissoudali and the suspended Kums, we can count on everyone against Cercle Brugge.”
In the first round of the Jupiler Pro League, AA Gent suffered a 3-4 home defeat against the Association from Bruges: “Every draw is treacherous in this cup competition”, Vanhaezebrouck refuses to dwell on the name of the opponent for too long. “You can’t make things right because there’s only one match. Whether it is against Cercle or Club Brugge or Deinze, every team is dangerous.”
“You may have home advantage, but we also lost here in the league. That should be a warning. I hope our fans will be there in large numbers. We had a nice story last year. At that time there were not enough places in Brussels for our supporters. You won’t get there without taking those other steps. That also starts with this round. Hopefully our fans will see that and push us forward to the next round”, Vanhaezebrouck tried to mobilize his supporters for this cup match.
After a particularly busy period, the Buffalos enjoyed a short holiday. A welcome rest period, says Vanhaezebrouck: “You know that break is coming, so you shouldn’t spend too much time and explain it. You try to finish well and take advantage of it to start well. We were in a good flow or they were in trouble. That is not suddenly completely different now, is it.”
“Foresight? Some people do, others don’t.”
“Above all, we have to ensure that we are up to speed right away”, Vanhaezebrouck immediately puts his team on edge. “That break was, of course, factored in. By the way, the boys got a bit more leave than usual because you can normally only give a week around New Year’s. Now they got two weeks off. Also because we have to continue until June. We are now starting again, if they could have been in Belgium, we would have played football again the day before the World Cup final.”
In the meantime, Vanhaezebrouck is already looking ahead and is even talking about next season: “It’s a bit different working now because you have to play for so long. You may also need to get back to work soon. We now play two matches and then we get a mini break. We have already experienced that with international breaks. So I don’t immediately see major problems. I don’t know when we will start next year. That can become a major problem. We will play until we restart otherwise. Then there may only be room for one week of leave. That is indeed far ahead. Some people do, others don’t. (laughs) We are curious.”