In the starting line-up for the fifth game in a row. Decisive with a goal for the second week in a row. Mario Stroeykens, for example, creates a luxury problem in Anderlecht’s midfield. “The trainer makes his choices, it is up to me to seize the opportunities.”
A match at Cercle Brugge is not for the faint of heart. Certainly not in midfield where many duels have to be fought. Mario Stroeykens experienced this firsthand. “We knew that Cercle plays its own brand of football and that we had to compete. We are a team that actually likes to keep the ball on the ground. But that is difficult against Cercle. Yet we still did relatively well.”
Riemer had devised a well-functioning plan in advance. We saw a lot of flank changes. Ball-holding players such as Hazard, Debast and Stroeykens played an important role in this. “We knew there would be a lot of space on the flanks. Cercle is a team that works well with the entire team. With the two goals, Thorgan uses that space very well,” the young midfielder also noted.
Stroeykens notes that Anderlecht gained in maturity in the last matches. Both last week against OHL and today against Cercle, the match was completed relatively easily after taking a lead. Much needed for confidence after the collapse against Standard in which they completely gave away a double lead after half-time. “In recent weeks we have been playing the matches very well, adults, away. We have also become very efficient. The last two goals were also played very nicely, all in one go. It was also good to keep the clean sheet again, (the first by Schmeichel, ed.). That also gives the defense confidence. Has the title already been mentioned? To be honest, we never talk about the title in the dressing room. We look at it week by week and want to get as many points as possible.”
Luxury problem in midfield
Stroeykens was in the starting line-up for the fifth time in a row against Cercle Brugge. He scored his third goal. And that creates a lot of trust. “Scoring is good, especially to contribute to victory and take a step forward every week.” In recent matches, the choice for Riemer to drop Stroeykens into the starting line-up was somewhat simple. First Delaney was injured, against Cercle Leoni – who indicated that he was not completely fit – had to drop out with a minor injury.
What if everyone in midfield is completely fit? Is Anderlecht suddenly saddled with a luxury problem? He certainly makes it very difficult for Riemer with his performances in recent weeks. “The trainer makes his choices. It’s up to me to take the opportunities when I play. At the moment I am doing well and being efficient. Would I have been disappointed if Leoni had started if he was not injured? No, the coach makes choices and you have to accept them. It is important to show what you can contribute on the field when you get the chance,” concludes Stroeykens.