How Racing Genk completely lost its flow: “Some boys were angry at halftime” | Follow the exciting title battle at HLN


Wouter Vrancken sighed deeply. “Disappointed, very disappointed,” said the Racing Genk coach after his team’s disappointing 4-1 defeat to Cercle Brugge. Did the elastic break after the earlier double uppercut against Club Brugge? “It would be bad.”

Bilal El Khannouss looked around in confusion. The Moroccan midfielder, who started the play-offs very strongly, had gained possession of the ball in Cercle’s half, but had no opportunity to play. Before Joris Kayembe had steamed up, all threat had disappeared from the attack. El Khannouss is someone whose irritation is visible on his face. He swore, gesticulated and got into an altercation with Félix Lemaréchal. The Monaco loanee was outstanding against the Limburgers on Saturday. “We have to turn the switch,” El Khannouss said after the match.

But how is it possible that Genk suddenly has to turn the switch? Wouter Vrancken’s team had started the play-offs just as strong and liberated. 10 out of 12 in that new 3-4-2-1 system. Everything had fallen into place. A 0 out of 9 and eleven (!) goals conceded in three matches later, the flow has completely disappeared. The double blow against Club has once again exposed the sore points and affected self-confidence.

We wrote it before: this Genk can be very good if every player plays at the top of his game. If not, things can quickly collapse. Especially if you don’t seize your moments. Example: El Ouahdi failed to make it 2-2 when the score was 2-1. A few minutes later it was 3-1.

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Nothing to the detriment of the Moroccan wingback – El Ouahdi is just in the middle of an excellent play-off – but not seizing your opportunities is structural at Genk this season. “It’s all in your head,” Wouter Vrancken indicated. “All week long you focus on one thing: to get a good result against Cercle, you have to play with a lot of intensity. That wasn’t there at all.”

“Some players were angry at half-time and I understand that very well. They wanted to move forward. I can accept sending the wrong pass or missing a check – you can have those days – but this was part of the will to do it. Eleven goals conceded in three matches? At first we were praised for our stability. If you analyze our goals conceded, you see that there are many individual mistakes… That really needs to be addressed.”

Realistically, fourth place is the maximum achievable for Genk. Had the players dreamed of more after that strong start? And is that perhaps mentally too bad for the players? “I would really mind that,” Vrancken said. “We have come from sixth place to fourth. The ambition was to obtain a European ticket, but to achieve that objective we have to improve on the level of our first matches,” said a coach who will in principle no longer be on the bench at Genk next season.

Because even before the play-offs, everything indicated that the marriage between Vrancken and the club was ending. Nothing has changed over time. To be continued.


Why Wouter Vrancken may no longer be coach of Genk next season (+)

INTERVIEW. Wouter Vrancken about the salon draw and Genk’s ambitions: “My future? It’s not about me right now”(+)

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