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Bart Verhaeghe after Bruges’ triumph: “I’m really against the playoff system, even though it made us champions”

Bart Verhaeghe is a man accustomed to success, both in his professional life and at the helm of Club Bruges. The FCB strongman celebrated his 11th trophy of his presidency, the 6th league title.

Against playoffs, yet happy with the outcome

Despite the euphoria of the moment, Verhaeghe remains clear-headed when speaking to Frank Peterkenne. “It’s the playoff system, the division of points, that puts us here, that makes us champions. Let’s be honest. I’m glad Union finished second because they deserve it. They won the regular competition. I’ve never been a defender of this system. I don’t believe it’s good for Belgian football. We need a normal competition like in Germany, like in England. Then, we could have been ready for the Conference League semi-final, like Fiorentina, who could rest all their players before playing against us. We dream of being present in Europe, but we need to create the conditions to achieve that.”

“I’m really against the system, but we have to prepare for it, and that’s what we did. Club Bruges is the team that has played the most matches in Europe with 63 games. That means you have to prepare your players physically and mentally for them to be ready to play a sort of ten-game cup at the end of the season. We’ve shown we can do it. It means we have a good staff. I’m very proud for these people that we may not necessarily know from the outside. It’s really teamwork. That makes me happy.”

Hans Vanaken, the standout player of the season at Bruges

The “blauw en zwart” President doesn’t hesitate to name his player of the season. “Hans Vanaken, our captain, played exceptionally well in the playoffs. He’s the best player in the Pro League. He has vision, technique. He’s strong. He’s robust. He’s also a scorer even if he didn’t score. For me, he’s really the player of the season. Will he be in Tedesco’s Euro squad? That’s not for me to say. It’s up to the coach to make his list.”

Hayen “has shown he is capable of managing a club like Club Bruges”

As an ambitious manager, Bart Verhaeghe is already looking towards next season. “We have to aim high. We’ll be competing on three fronts next season. That means we’ll try to win the title again, the cup, and try to go as far as possible in Europe. We ask a lot, but it’s logical. We’re the biggest club in Belgium.”

One question still needs to be answered: who will be in the dugout? Interim manager Nicky Hayen seems indispensable. In 14 matches (9 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss), he turned Club Bruges around and led them to the title. “He did an excellent, exceptional job. We’re very proud. He came from us, from Club NXT where he had a very good run. And he has shown he is capable of managing a club like Club Bruges. We’ll sit down and discuss.”

Written by Angel Chioma

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