Will Pallieters remain undefeated at FC Liège on Sunday? “The coming weeks will determine whether the glass is half full or half empty for us”

With only a handful of yellow-black fans in his wake, Lierse wants to continue its unbeaten run on the FC Liège field on Sunday. Despite the recent 7 out of 9, the trip to the Fiery City will be anything but a journey for the faint-hearted for the Pallieters. Yet 22-year-old Stan Van Dessel is hopeful. “If there is one thing this group never lacks, it is the right mentality and resilience.”

He may only be 1.69 meters tall, but Stan Van Dessel received a huge boost of growth last weekend. With a genuine beauty against SK Beveren, the young man in his early twenties scored his first professional goal ever. A goal that also put the Pallieters on the right track to achieve a deserved draw. And so the former Truienaar was quite important for his team.

“I cannot hide the fact that I was very satisfied with that goal. I had to wait a long time for it. Somehow it feels like a liberation. But scoring is only fun if it yields something afterwards. That is precisely why I am happy that my equalizer suddenly made us play much better football. I had the feeling that I had really been of value to the team. And that was the most important thing. Because everything at Lierse revolves around the collective.”

Apart from that goal, you seem to be finding your feet at the Lisp better and better?

“Beats. It initially took some getting used to. Football in 1A is simply different than in the Challenger Pro League. That required an adjustment. The same applied to several players in our core. Look at Obbi Oulare, who also had a hard time initially and has now become a super important point of rest in our team. Just like him, I too am blossoming in my own way. From the first day at Lierse you are included in the group as if you have been playing football here for a year. But on the field it needed a little more time.”

Moreover, you got off to a bad start, which was not conducive to a smooth adjustment.

“It wasn’t good, no. To such an extent that we suddenly found ourselves in a relegation place. You can say that Lierse doesn’t belong there, but unconsciously something like that creeps into the minds of the players. It would also be bad if it left us cold. For that reason, that recent 7 out of 9 was a godsend. These points brought extra confidence and belief in their own abilities. At times I thought we played really good football against SK Beveren. When the pressure of looking back is gone and we can play football more freely, Lierse will become even better. I’m convinced of that.”

And so a defeat at FC Liège is out of the question?

“If we really want to look up, we have to win. We also have to believe that a victory is possible in Liège, even though they have a strong team and they made an excellent start. But the coming weeks will determine whether Lierse can see the glass half full or half empty. Everything is so close together that the team that takes points will soon also make big leaps. We have to try to be that team.”

The first requirement still seems to keep the back door closed better. Lierse has the second most passed defense.

“Yes, we are taking steps in that area. We have done better in recent weeks with that first clean sheet against Seraing and we also only conceded one goal at Jong Genk. We are also gaining confidence at the back. But things are certainly improving offensively. Since a few weeks we have been creating many more chances, while at the beginning of the competition this was often by chance. These are positive signals that confirm to me that we are on the right track.”

The ambition for the season was a place in the top six. Is that objective still realistic today?

“Very difficult to say. It will mainly depend on the extent to which this group continues to evolve. We are making progress, but it is difficult to estimate where our limits lie. The ranking is still very compact today, but the ranking will soon be formed. It is important to be on the train. That must now be our first effort.”

You signed for one season with an option for an additional year in Lier. Do you often look back at your former club Sint-Truiden?

“I played there for seven seasons and was part of the first team for five years. So I was formed there to a large extent, but the big breakthrough did not happen. I definitely wanted to make minutes in a first team and didn’t hesitate for a second when Lierse offered me that opportunity. I haven’t regretted that decision for a second. But that doesn’t mean I’m resentful towards the Canaries either. I still watch their matches regularly. And elsewhere you will also regularly find me next to a football field. Football is my passion and my life. Grab a match here or there with my girlfriend. I really enjoy that.”

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