A smiling Brian Priske at the Antwerp press conference on Thursday afternoon. The Dane has every reason to. Because where were we for the international break? That’s right, 15 out of 15 and a (shared) leader’s place. “The most important match is always the next one, and now it’s against Zulte Waregem on Saturday. It is important to get 18 out of 18.”
Thomas Franken, David Van Den Broeck
Yesterday at 5:31 PM
The trainer of Royal Antwerp FC speaks clear language. The series of 15 on 15 has been interrupted by the international break, the winning streak just have to continue. “We want to win the title this year and then you have to take a lot of points. That is why the 18 out of 18 is important. If you look at the program of the coming weeks, you will see that Club Brugge and Anderlecht are coming. We just have to look at our own qualities and use them in those matches. Whether against Westerlo in the cup or against Club Brugge. The most important match is always the next one, and that is this Saturday against Zulte Waregem.”
Priske again has an almost completely fit core. “A number of players were looking forward to that rest period. Other players such as Vines, Engels and Yusuf returned from injury. Vines played a strong ninety minutes in the friendly match against Waasland-Beveren. That match was also welcome for players who did not make many minutes in recent months.” The players who left the Bosuil for international obligations have also returned unharmed. Samatta (Tanzania) and Miyoshi (Japan) are back. Balikwisha (national promises) is also there again.
A lot of fit players means a lot of choices for the trainer. “That doesn’t make it easy for me, but I think it’s good that there is a lot of competition. Only eleven can start, that’s football. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the players who don’t start, quite the contrary. But if you’re not in the base, you have to do everything you can to get there. That mentality must prevail. It will be necessary, because there are a lot of games coming up in a short period of time.”
Fighting on three fronts
Priske is not wrong about that. Antwerp is competing on three fronts with the Jupiler Pro League, the Croky Cup and the Europa League. In Belgium everything is going smoothly for Antwerp for the time being, but in Europe the results are disappointing with a 0 out of 6 against Olympiacos and Frankfurt. “I’ve liked our two games so far. I think we would have earned two points anyway, but it is now. We must be able to fight on different fronts. In the weekend in Waregem and on Thursday in Istanbul. Today and tomorrow the focus is solely on the match against Zulte Waregem and getting 18 out of 18.”