herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Brugge seek a 'miracle'

Club Brugge coach Michel Preud'homme
Club Brugge coach Michel Preud'homme

Michel Preud'homme believes his Club Brugge side will need divine intervention to prevent Manchester United from claiming a spot in the Champions League group stage.

The Flanders region in northern Belgium played host to some of the most devastating battles of World War I, but there was no sign of any fighting talk from Brugge's coach on the eve of tonight's Champions League play-off second leg against United.

With his team 3-1 down from the first leg at Old Trafford, Preud'homme was keen to play down his their chances of pulling off an upset.

Indeed his assessment was so bleak that he concluded something miraculous was needed to stop United from advancing to the group stage.

"Miracles happen sometimes, but they are two goals in front and they are a very professional team," Preud'homme said.

"To get a miracle, you need to be perfect and you need the other to not play at his best potential. We have a lot of players out, too.

"If we want to have a chance, we have to be perfect. It will be very difficult, but let's pray."

The reason for Preud'homme's pessimism is clear. As the 56-year-old says, his squad is ravaged by injury with eight players, including the suspended Brandon Mechele, unavailable.

The club's top striker, Tom De Sutter, who scored 13 goals last term, will complete his transfer to Turkish club Bursaspor tomorrow.

It could be the last game for star playmaker Victor Vazquez too as he has been the subject of interest from several Spanish clubs.

"The player has to manage it," the Brugge coach said of Vazquez, who supplied the assist for the Belgian club's only goal at Old Trafford.

Club Brugge v Man United, Live RTÉ 2 (ko 7.45)

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