Karel Geraerts: I’m relying on our players to be mentally strong

After a poor start to the second round of fixtures, S04 are searching for their first three points of the new year against Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday (3rd February, 13:00 CET). Even though there’s still quite a few games left in the second part of the campaign, the team and coaching staff are putting pressure on themselves to pick up the win, according to boss Karel Geraerts.

Against the side from Lower Saxony, the 42-year-old will rely on players who are psychologically ready for the task ahead. “They can’t be afraid of the pressure and have to be mentally strong. I’ll choose those players,” emphasised Geraerts, who has carried out many one-to-one and group conversations in the past few days.

Apart from Assan Ouédraogo and Leo Greiml, the head coach has a full squad of players to choose from, including Thursday’s (1st February) new arrival Brandon Soppy. The right-back has joined the Royal Blues on loan until the end of the season. “I’m very happy that Brandon’s here. We’ve been looking for a more offensive player on the right side of defence for a long time,” said Geraerts. “He’s trained with us today, and will do so again tomorrow. And then I’ll see what condition he’s in for Saturday.” The S04 coach will have to make a change in this position anyway due to Cedric Brunner’s suspension.

New players create more flexibility

A change from a 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 system is also possible, but Geraerts does not yet want to commit to one of these. It is however important to him to have this option thanks to new players which maybe even allow him change the tactical formation over the course of 90 minutes.

After the defeats to Hamburg and Kaiserslautern, it’s about not panicking for both him and the players. “I’m staying true to my philosophy. That doesn’t mean that I’m turning a blind eye to problems. I want to find solutions to things that aren’t going well,” said Geraerts, who adds: “The work we’ve been doing for months wasn’t for nothing just because we’ve lost twice. We have to believe in what we’re doing. Now, we need to put that into practice on the field.”

The opponents from Braunschweig travel to Gelsenkirchen off the back of four league wins in a row. “They’re a team who have a good game plan, which we’ve seen in our analysis,” explained Geraerts. He’s expecting a confident team who they have to beat. “We are ready and believe in ourselves.”

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