Perfect week with Union, but Siebe Van der Heyden is disappointed because he was not called up for the Red Devils: “Sometimes you should play in a better competition”

Siebe Van der Heyden trumps Geoffry Hairemans. Union put aside the Maneblussers on character. “If things go a little less in football, we can always count on that.” — © BELGIUM

Time for a well-deserved rest. Union has played one game after another in recent months and, with the exception of a dip, they were almost always successful. The balance for the international break: three points from leader Genk and in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. “We certainly deserve our week of rest,” defender Siebe Van der Heyden (24) also knows.

Thomas Cami

Siebe, you are diving into the international match period with a win, although it wasn’t that easy against KV Mechelen, was it?

“No that is right. We knew it was going to be difficult, especially after Thursday’s game. Union Berlin is a very strong team and we had to give a lot, so that was a bit in our legs on Sunday evening. If you then fall behind early, it becomes even more difficult. Afterwards we again showed our mental toughness. If things go a little less in football, we can always count on that.”

Are you glad you now have some time to take a breather? You get a week’s congé.

“Yes certainly. I think we really deserve that holiday after all those games that we have brought to a successful conclusion. We can now recharge for the busy schedule that awaits us after the international break.”

You did a good job on Sunday evening: the gap to leader Genk is only three points. Do you believe in the title?

“Of course, it would be strange if that belief were not there. We all have to believe in it, that only gives us more motivation to keep winning and grab the three points.”

Last year you were at the top all season, now it’s Genk that has been first for a long time. Would you rather be the hunter than the prey?

“I wouldn’t say that. There are still four games to play before the playoffs, and then we’ll see if we’re still the fighter. Whether that is an advantage or a disadvantage I cannot say, but to be honest I prefer to start the play-offs as leader. Genk may now have a slightly lesser period, but it remains a very good team. We’ll see in the play-offs, then it’s really about the marbles.”

Something else: Domenico Tedesco announced his first selection as national coach of the Red Devils and you are not among them.

“Yes that’s right. I’ve only spoken to him once when he came to watch a Union game, even though I was suspended then. Look, I’m really sorry I’m not there, but sometimes you might have to play in a higher league to have a chance to be selected. And I’m not just saying that about myself. There are other guys who are doing great in the Belgian league and who might deserve to be in the squad. But okay, a coach has his own philosophy, and as a player you can’t say anything about that. I’m just going to keep doing my best at Union, and we’ll see what the future brings.”

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