‘This is not the time to have a weaker period’: Hans Vandeweghe about Union’s loss in play-off 1

‘This is not the time to have a weaker period’: Hans Vandeweghe about Union’s loss in play-off 1
‘This is not the time to have a weaker period’: Hans Vandeweghe about Union’s loss in play-off 1

Hello Hans. Union was the best team of the regular season, but against Genk they gave up their lead with a 1-0 defeat. What is going on with the people of Brussels?

“Union no longer plays the football with which they took the lead, say analysts who have played football themselves. It is a team that has given a lot, both in the Belgian competition and in Europe.

“It may well be that this fatigue now manifests itself in a weaker period. Although this is not the time to have a weaker period. The football that Union plays is very energetic with a lot of pressure high up the field. If a number of players can no longer afford to play the game gegenpressing If it is carried out properly, the house of cards will not collapse, but will sag a bit.”

Christian Burgess received a red card. Was that exemplary of the frustration at Union?

“It was a combination of stupidity, frustration and his history. Burgess is someone who is actually too slow for Union football, but thanks to his cleverness he often plays well defensively. He can hide the many mistakes he makes on the opponent well. Burgess must be about the only central defender who had not yet received a red card.

“But that cleverness turned into stupidity against Genk. He throws the ball hard into the face of Tolu who is standing in front of him. That was pure annoyance. It looked like Union was losing the pedals.”

Goalkeeper Anthony Moris made another mistake and had to concede another goal. Is that a coincidence?

“Moris has a problem with depth perception. He is a good linekeeper, but coming out and assessing how the game is going is a problem. He completely misjudged that ball. It’s a shame it’s happening to him just now. It has hardly happened to him in the past three years. Is that the nerves? Is that a coincidence? But still, even if he hadn’t made the mistake, Union still didn’t deserve the win. Genk was still the better team.”

Should Union be concerned?

“We cannot draw too many conclusions after one match day. Yes, Union should be concerned, with the emphasis on should. But there are still nine games to go and 27 points to be earned. Their upcoming match against Cercle Brugge should in principle result in a victory.

“Union is not in a bad position. They are also competing for the cup. Union is a strange team, they can be in the lead with a comfortable margin about three games before the end, but they could just as easily be eliminated.

“What is especially important is that Union has repeatedly outsourced it in the last two years. Time and time again they were the best team of the regular season, but in the play-offs they did not win the title. Third time’s the charm?”

Union has to tolerate Anderlecht in first place. Are the mauves the favorite now?

“Anderlecht was Anderlecht. Against Antwerp they were the team they have been throughout the competition. They get the most out of their performance: cunning and smart. Actually Antwerp was better, but they lost 1-0 by one lucky goal which flies in through Sardella’s buttock. Certainly not very deserved.

“We see that Anderlecht has gained an incredible amount of maturity in one year. Under Kompany they had a very young team, now they have one of the oldest teams with experienced players such as Vertonghen and Hazard in the starting line-up. They are old, smart players with a lot of miles under their belts. They know how to win a match.

“Is Anderlecht favorite now? That is difficult to say, the Brussels clash between Anderlecht and Union will have to determine it.”

Club Brugge was looking forward to the first match under coach Nicky Hayen. How did that go?

“As often this season, Club has shown two faces. After a weak first half, a much better second half followed. But ultimately the Bruges derby ended in a draw. However, Club should have won the match. They kicked the goal frame three times. That’s bad luck. They have shown improvement this time. The question is whether they will be able to continue to show that. It remains a changeable team.”

Have other title candidates emerged after the first day of play? The battle for third place will be exciting.

“Not immediately. There is eight points difference between the first and third teams in the ranking. Although there is not a single weak brother in play-off 1. We are going to see many more shifts. For example, the provisional last in the rankings is Cercle Brugge (25 points), two points behind Club Brugge (27 points). Everything can still turn around.

“It proves that the play-off formula is okay. Even halving the points is a good thing. Ultimately, a product like football is only consumed if it is exciting enough.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: time weaker period Hans Vandeweghe Unions loss playoff


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