Why Zulte Waregem better put its fate in the hands of Frederik D’Hollander: Interim coach scores good points on debut


He is not a man of big words and perhaps the average Belgian football fan does not know Frederik D’Hollander very well. Nevertheless, the former attacker who coached Jong Essevee this season turned out to be the perfect man in Liège to lead this Zulte Waregem in the fierce relegation battle. Although it remains unclear whether the Essevee board wants to continue with this club man.

Stefan Smet

In fairness, we must admit that the introduction to this article would have looked completely different if Standard had pushed the accelerator after the break. After all, Zulte Waregem seemed halfway ready for the slaughter: “We couldn’t find each other enough before the break, you noticed that everyone was looking for each other”, Christian Brüls admitted afterwards. “Not surprising because we played in a different field line-up, but after the break it clearly went better.”

Indeed. Frederik D’Hollander resolutely opted for a four-man defence: “I made that choice from day one”, explained Mbaye Leye’s successor after his debut as head coach in the Jupiler Pro League. “I think we don’t immediately have the qualities to play with three men in the back”, D’Hollander explained his decision. “In the end we still switched to a three-man defense because we wanted everything and luckily we were able to score.”

© Isosport

On the other hand, D’Hollander also chose another goalkeeper. Sammy Bossut paid the bill for ten goals conceded in the last two league matches. As a result, Louis Bostyn appeared for the first time since the end of December – visiting Sint-Truiden – in goal at Essevee: “I had an open conversation with Sammy and he responded very well”, D’Hollander also showed himself to be an excellent people manager .

In the mixed zone Bossut indeed walked around like a thundercloud, on the contrary. We saw with our own eyes how Bossut joked with his competitor, Bostyn. “We now mainly have to think as a group and I also saw a group that went all the way to the end. 2-3 might have been too much, but that victory would of course have been very welcome”, chuckled D’Hollander, who had also noticed that some boys clearly had a ‘first day of school feeling’.

Passed entrance exam

So many positive elements, because with Fadera and Ndour as fast pawns, Essevee also turned out to be better able to counter quickly and dangerously. Still, Standard failed to close the game, although D’Hollander thought that the Liège press made an analysis that was too one-sided. “There is a lot of talk here about Standard missing the opportunities, but we have also played a handful of opportunities here.”

“The group has a good feeling, otherwise you wouldn’t bring this here. This draw is without a doubt a boost. Now we have a little more time to prepare for the match against Antwerp.” However, it remains unclear whether D’Hollander will still be on the bench at Zulte Waregem after the international break: “I don’t know if I am on the bench against Antwerp, you should ask the board that question”, the former attacker rebounded the ball nimbly back. He passed his entrance exam with flying colours.

Since the intended candidates declined the honor one by one, it seems only fair that D’Hollander now also gets the chance to bring this job to a successful conclusion. With four duels to go, there is simply no room for more experiments. The road promises to be tough and winding, but with D’Hollander at the wheel, Essevee doesn’t seem finished for the first time in weeks.

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