On Thursday, Anderlecht will face Villarreal CF in the first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa Conference League. Coach Brian Riemer and Anders Dreyer took a seat in the press room ahead of the first leg against Villarreal.
Apart from Hannes Delcroix, Adrien Trebel and Marco Kana, everyone is available for selection for this first game against Spanish Villarreal CF. The club faces an important week with the European game on Thursday and the home game against Cercle Brugge on Sunday.
“For every single team that plays in a European competition, it’s about being clever. I will never speak about which game is more important than the other, or which game I want to win most. Of course, we need to take some things into consideration, in terms of availability, physical condition and in terms of the type of game. The two teams we’re facing this week are very different opponents, so I would never put out the two same teams anyway. I’ll line up the team tomorrow that I believe is the strongest to face Villarreal.”
If we can beat Villarreal over the two legs? “Yes. We’re playing a team that I have the utmost respect for. They have done very well in European competitions for a long time now, they are still playing for Champions League spots in one of the best leagues of the world and they have very valuable players. So we know that we’re facing a team with great qualities and a lot of experience. I see it as an unbelievable opportunity for all our young guys to come out and show themselves in a knock-out phase of a European competition. I have complete confidence in our team. The way we are structured, both on and off the ball, is something that can definitely help us to cause them problems.”
“The most important game is always the next one. European nights can turn out to be beautiful nights, like when we qualified against Ludogorets. It was incredible to have a full house and to give something back to the fans and to qualify for the next round. Now we have to be ready as a team, because the tempo will be a lot higher. Of course we want to deliver a better performance than in the game against Ghent last Sunday. We were obviously a little bit down after the game. But we need to focus on what we did well and what we have been doing well in the last few weeks. Since I arrived here, I feel we have made a lot of progress. And the good thing is we have another very important game this Thursday, so I’m looking forward to that.”