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Vanhaezebrouck: The opener changed the entire game

Thursday, October 20, 2016



Gent mentor reflects on the game vs Shakhtar

- We may analyse the game from different angles. We started quite well, everything worked. But we shouldn’t have conceded that kind of goal. It was like a Christmas gift in a beautiful box, and the opponents enjoyed receiving it – they took advantage of it. At the start, Shakhtar had some problems, but after the opener everything changed, and they found themselves in a very favourable situation. This goal changed the entire game. We had opportunities to equalise, but we wasted them. After that it got 2-0, and after a good first half, we had such a result. In the second half, we wanted to pull one back, but took the field and conceded very similar third and fourth goals. Frankly, our today’s performance wasn’t defensive. We didn’t act coherently, did not back one another. We must admit that our defensive performance today just failed. Later, Coulibaly had a good chance to change the course of the game, but ... Regarding the closing twenty minutes, we are happy not to have conceded the eighth and the ninth one – we could do so given our performance. Of course, I am a bit angry that the players didn’t give their one hundred percent throughout the game. We are not the kind of team who can afford to relax in the second half and work half-heartedly. Last year, in the Champions League, we got some important lessons: how to play, give your all and achieve the result. They helped us a lot. And today, probably was the first time when we did not take advantage of the knowledge. I already had a talk with the guys after the game, we will talk more later. Now it remains only to congratulate Shakhtar on the well-deserved victory.

- Today, you took risks, showed some courageous football and had a few chances in the first half. However, our three defenders obviously failed in their tasks. Why we acted so boldly as if we had played at home and not away?
- Firstly, we always act like that. It’s our constant formation. In the same way we played Valencia, Olympique Lyonnais and Zenit last season. Secondly, the keeper’s failure to pass it right is not an issue related to the three defenders. Otherwise, we can say that with more defenders, just more problems arise. We just had a bad day today. Most likely, we would have conceded using any formation. In the first half we operated really well, creating chances. However, in football it’s not the formation that decides it, but the efficiency – defensive, offensive and all the actions together.

- A question about Rinne. Such failures happen, but doesn’t it seem to you that this is not a coincidence and that he had similar episodes in the past?
- Jacob is a young talented footballer, who sometimes lacks focus. He often helped us. But today Rinne misjudged the situation. There was no need to rush it: his teammate had an advantageous position, with no one challenging him. As a result, after that pass both the defender and he had problems. However, we will attribute it to his youth – he needs to learn a lot. I think Jacob will learn the lesson. Rinne is a calm keeper, sometimes even too much. I would really like him to retain his composure, but add concentration during matches.

- Do you need to continue trying to play on top and attack a lot against such strong opponents?
- I do not think we need to change anything. In the second half, we just lacked pace and commitment. If we do not give our one hundred percent, we are a pretty average team, probably, like all Belgian sides. What makes us different? The fact that we don’t fear playing against strong opponents. Had we today, as they say, run and operated well, then everything would have been okay. You can beat strong sides through physical qualities, but we lacked them today. The opponents’ talent also meant a lot today, hence the result.

- Yesterday, we encountered some Belgian fans downtown, who say that you are in Belgium like Pep Guardiola. Do you agree with that?
- Guardiola lost 0-4, but I’ve lost 0-5 today. So I'm worse than him.