On Thursday evening, the return match of the play-off round will decide whether or not RSC Anderlecht will progress to the group stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League. Coach Felice Mazzù and captain Hendrik Van Crombrugge spoke to the press on Wednesday afternoon before this important match in a sold-out Lotto Park.
Apart from Adrien Trebel (shoulder injury) and Julien Duranville, everyone is available for the clash against the Swiss club on Thursday evening. "Majeed Ashimeru also trained with the group today", said the coach.
Mazzù also knows that the qualification is anything but a given, even after the 0-1 win in Bern. "The task is anything but simple. We played a mature game in Bern, but everyone saw that the opponent has many qualities. We will have to be strong mentally and start the match as if it were 0-0. We need to play our own game and show intelligence and maturity in difficult moments of the match."
The coach also spoke about satisfaction with the defensive stability of the team, with 5 clean sheets in 7 games. "That is not easy, especially as the players have had to adapt to a new system since the start of the season. That is a great compliment for the staff, but above all for the players themselves. I am very satisfied with that."
Hendrik Van Crombrugge, who will play his 100th game in purple and white tomorrow, is also aware of the importance of Thursday night's game. "Of course I am proud to play 100 games for this great club. But the collective interest is what counts: qualifying for a European group stage is important for the supporters, for the club, for the staff and for this group of players."
"The elimination last year against Vitesse is not comparable to the situation we are in now. Last year we were still searching and we had to fit in a lot of new players. This season we also had to adapt to the new system, but we have succeeded quite well. The staff has managed to establish a good dialogue with the players in a short space of time, and the best proof of that is the results on the pitch. Now it's a matter of finding consistency and keeping up this rhythm."
"We are fully aware that tomorrow will be a very important, but also very difficult match. So we have to stay humble and calm and not put extra pressure on this group unnecessarily."