Hein Vanhaezebrouck explains why Gift Orban takes less action: “Things are not going so smoothly in training either”

“Depoitre and Nurio are not back yet, just like Cuypers. We still have to wait and see with some other boys such as Gerkens and Torunarigha whether they will make it tomorrow,” Vanhaezebrouck continues to struggle with a large number of doubts, while his top scorer has not yet recovered from the injury he sustained last Wednesday at the Bosuil: “Hugo has a slight muscle injury, not very serious, but tomorrow evening’s match comes too early. He is still experiencing minor discomfort, but we are only talking about a week ago.”

Cuypers will not be fit for Thursday’s match. — © BELGIUM

Vanhaezebrouck’s options remain extremely limited: “I cannot rotate much because then you are looking at four, five or six other names. Tomorrow it might be one or two other players. There’s not much left.” In addition, there was also positive news about the employability of Sven Kums: “Against RWDM we had some doubts about replacing Sven at half time. He was able to complete the match with a wrapped knee and fortunately there was no reaction. Sometimes this can come up later, but for now it’s ok. Hopefully it was a false alarm.”

Not a poisoned gift

Due to the narrow Ghent player group, the Buffaloes continue to balance on a tightrope these days: “It is never a poisoned gift because everyone within the club asks for European football, not only in terms of image but also financially, this yields several millions. This is therefore a reward,” Vanhaezebrouck puts this precarious situation into perspective. “The fact that you may not sufficiently arm your core is a choice you make. We were warned. Everyone – players and staff included – wants to play in Europe and we have been able to do that for years. This remains a target for us that we will continue to pursue: even hibernation in our case, although that could cause us problems after New Year.”

Malick Fofana is currently in top form and does not seem to be bothered by the busy schedule of the Buffaloes: “Malick also goes to school, which is tough, but it makes you stronger,” Vanhaezebrouck smiles. “I remember this from my own career: the training sessions that yield the most progress are those that still cause you some discomfort the next day. That makes you stronger. Just like in competitions where you are at the end wheezing sit. That’s why I left him against RWDM. It was good to have him play 90 minutes twice in a row, also because I didn’t see a replacement for him.”

Vanhaezebrouck and Gandelman. — © BELGIUM

The person who has less reason to be satisfied is undoubtedly Gift Orban: “Things are not going so smoothly with Gift either in training,” Vanhaezebrouck sounds matter-of-factly. “It’s very simple: someone who plays fantastically well in training always plays. Or you have to be new like my neighbor (points to Gandelman, ed.)After all, sometimes you still have to pick up some things. We also think it’s strange, but I also mentioned that last year: then everything worked and everything was great. Sometimes things just don’t work out and Gift is just in such a moment, but that can also make him stronger, once he finds his way to the goal again.”

“Gift is an optimist”

“The balls go in much less and are less on target”, Vanhaezebrouck notes. “He is also very young. This is not all that obvious: if you miss some opportunities, it sometimes gets into your head and it is also sometimes less important when playing football: bouncing, ball handling. Gift also feels that things are going a bit slower. You have to keep pointing out certain things to him, but on the other hand you also refer to what went well before and we also try to show him images. If things aren’t going well, you have to work even harder. If it happens naturally, sometimes it is not necessary. You must always function within your team. If you score two or three goals every match, that’s different, but if this doesn’t happen, people expect you to do more. We have to look at this positively and continue to support him.”

Things are going a little slower for Orban, but he is not letting that bother him for the time being. — © BELGIUM

Yet, according to his coach, there are no magic formulas to get out of such slumps: “Everything is connected: I don’t know any player who whistles when he feels that things are not going well and notices that he is playing less. Gift is an optimist, but this of course also plays a role. He didn’t come on well against Bruges either and even without that red card I might have replaced him. Afterwards he also received a red card, which resulted in a suspension.”

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