Vincent Kompany defends his ex-colleague just before Clasico: "It's a shame that Leye paid for other people's mistakes at Standard"

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Anderlecht-Standard is the topper of the weekend. The Purple & White are the big favorites after a run of 16 out of 18, while the Rouches are at the bottom. Still, this is a special match. For Vincent Kompany, there can be no underestimation. The RSCA coach had hoped that they would have given more time in Liège to Mbaye Leye, a coach who greatly appreciates Kompany.

Jürgen Geril

Today at 14:18

Over the past three years, Anderlecht have always lost their first match after the winter break. That is why the top match against Standard is now extra important. “It’s always better to start with a win,” said Vincent Kompany. “In that sense, my task is made easier because it is now a clasico against Standard. The players all know the importance of that match and you can feel the emotions in the group. Everyone wants to perform at their best anyway.”

The question is, of course, how classic this classic still is. Anderlecht are back in the running for the prizes after a run of 16 out of 18, but Standard is at the bottom of the standings. Even the relegation specter is not far away. Don’t the Purple & White threaten to underestimate the Rouches? “Never,” continues Kompany. “That’s just impossible in a match like that. Even if Standard were to play in the third division, we would not underestimate them. Our vision is that we want to win everything. Moreover, we mainly look at ourselves. We compete not so much with other teams, but with the best version of ourselves. It’s also a matter of mindset. Always raising the bar. I know you can’t do better every day than the day before, but you can try.”

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So the respect for the people of Liège is still there. Still, Kompany had another expression of sympathy for Mbaye Leye, the coach who was previously sacked at Sclessin. “It’s a shame that Mbaye paid for the mistakes made by others. I say that as a colleague. Standard has been in a difficult situation for some time now. They have financial problems, just as we have known them. That situation was already created before Mbaye got there, but he paid the price. In that context, it is better to be patient and draw out a vision. Okay, with Luka Elsner they got a new good coach, but a trainer doesn’t have a magic wand. Sometimes it’s better to give him time.”

No Kouame, but Raman

Standard is doing everything it can to strengthen itself this winter. They already won Renaud Emond and Gilles Dewaele, among others. It then becomes more difficult for Kompany to estimate how the people of Liège will perform. “It is clear where the coach wants to strengthen his team and where he wants to go… You can prepare for that. In any case, Standard still has a lot of quality players, doesn’t it. Carcela, Klauss, Lestienne, Muleka, Bastien… These are guys who wouldn’t look out of place in many top six teams in Belgium. We will have to be there.”

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Anderlecht assumes that the positive covid players Magallan and Ashimeru will be available. The only one who is missing for the time being is Christian Kouamé who is in the Africa Cup. So it may be up to Benito Raman to show his worth. Standard is his ex-squad and he is eager to prove himself. “Benito has many ex-teams in Belgium,” Kompany joked. “If that’s the criteria to play, then he should start every week. No, seriously. Benito Raman has been invaluable to us so far, but it’s better not to reveal anything about my squad.”

The only thing Kompany wanted to say is something about the mercato. Anderlecht have so far only lost Taylor Harwood-Bellis. “Our goal now is to keep the core together”, concluded the RSCA coach. “We only have to be prepared when an offer cannot be refused. In covid times I am also in favor of a broad core. Okay Harwood-Bellis we let go because it was best for him and his parent club Man City. We also shouldn’t have 5 players for one position, especially because we still have to be careful financially. It also gives young players the opportunity to compete.”

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