Oof. At KV Oostende everyone breathed a sigh of relief after the draw against Cercle. This way a safe gap is maintained with the relegation line. However, some question marks may be raised. Does the international break offer the necessary insights?
Max D’Arpino has yet to recover – his return will be sometime in December – and with Kenny Rocha Santos (with Cape Verde against Bahrain) and Fanos Katelaris (with Cyprus against Greece and Kosovo), there are two players with international commitments. In other words: the all in all quiet training week and practice match against Valenciennes was completed with an almost complete squad. That’s good, because trainer Yves Vanderhaeghe wants to have a hearty word with most players. KVO got off to a good start against Cercle Brugge, but after about ten minutes the house of cards collapsed. “Our first half was subpar in terms of duel power. And that’s not the first time,” the coach says. “We lost every game, our strikers didn’t do anything and their attackers were omnipresent. We really need to start using more body.”
It is true what the trainer says. Fraser Hornby for example, still acting well against Leuven and Standard, succumbed at the slightest contact. Playmaker and man in shape Nick Bätzner also made more contact with the turf than with the ball, Sieben Dewaele recorded his least performance so far. And then there were the many yellow cards, including the fourth for Rocha.
“With Cameron McGeehan and Mohamed Berte, there was more battle between the lines. We really need that”, Vanderhaeghe shakes the group awake. It was also something Captain Anton Tanghe noticed. “We came a step too late in the first half, we also lost the second balls. However, we knew that the match against Cercle Brugge was going to be dueling power and yet we let ourselves be caught. cam brought more power play, Berte and Atanga provided speed.”
After the international break we have to score and defend like crazy
Vanderhaeghe will more than likely consider a starting spot for McGeehan – finally fully fit again – and Berte. They are also profiles that differ somewhat from the series of midfielders that KVO already has available. The technical staff is also very positive about Berte. Despite his young age (20) and limited stature (1.75 meters), he is difficult to put off the ball. Witness a firm, but in vain charge from Dino Hotic: Berte just stayed upright and went. His loan to the Dutch partner club and second division team Den Bosch (18 matches, two goals and an assist) apparently did well.
During rush hour, there seems to be one less issue. Thierry Ambrose finally found the goal after nine games, although he also needed some luck with a penalty in two times – and a nice assist/action from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto. Admittedly: a striker who does not score would be burned down at the absolute top clubs. But it is precisely because of that effort that Ambrose was spared heavy criticism. “As an attacker you dream of goals. At the beginning of the season I played well, but did not see that effort paid off. You then start to wonder when that goal will come and you react differently. Shoot faster, make bad choices. Now I get that ‘reward’ for the bet. That’s important for trust. (winks) I slept well anyway.”
KVO finally drew the arrears against Cercle. But they can’t afford many such ‘films’, including after that absurdly bad defeat against Sint-Truiden. With four points ahead of sixteenth place – and the relegation line – the peace is preserved. “Had we lost against Cercle, we would have been with them again (the relegation candidates, ed.). In that respect, the point is a good thing,” Tanghe realizes. “Now we can charge the batteries and fly back in full later.” Ambrose: “We deserve to be higher in the standings. This core is good, the trainer makes the right choices, just like the club management with the transfers. Only minor mistakes in the games decided otherwise. After the international break we have to score and defend like crazy – voilaeasy.”
Yves Vanderhaeghe also believes that KVO should be a little higher. “Can I live with those ten points and thirteenth place? It will have to, huh. I certainly don’t want to be in those last three. I think we deserved three more points. The safe gap must be preserved. Of course: it is typical of matches against competitors that mainly combat football is provided, such as against Eupen – where we both counted six points – and Cercle. Good football is probably possible against other teams.” Provided a great drive and fighting spirit, no significant problems should arise. After the international break and before the World Cup break that starts on November 11, KVO still has a varying program: against top players Genk, Union, Antwerp and Club, and competitors Seraing, Zulte-Waregem, Kortrijk and Westerlo. It is immediately clear where three-pointers have to be picked up. (TVA)