Benfica vs. Club Brugge - Football Match Summary - ESPN
Looking for a jolt, club officials sacked previous coach Carl Hoefkens at the end of December to replace him with Parker, but the move has so far failed to bring a resurgence. It has, however, restored stability as Parker drew five of his seven matches in charge, including an encouraging and lively 1-1 draw last week against second-place Union Saint Gilloise in a game with many scoring chances. “Things are moving in the right direction, ” said center-back Jack Hendry ahead of Benfica’s visit to Jan Breydelstadion. Parker had been out of work since being fired by Bournemouth in August. His ill-fated stint at Bournemouth included a 9-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool that led to his dismissal following his comments about a lack of depth in the squad.
Led by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s 31 saves in the group phase, Brugge produced five clean sheet while developing clinical efficiency up front as prolific striker Ferran Jutgla blossomed into the team’s attacking leader. But like the rest of his teammates, the up-and-coming Spanish forward got trapped in a domestic downward spiral that started in November and has yet to be stopped. The club has won just two of their past 13 matches in all competitions and is 20 points behind league leader Genk.
Parker seems to have left criticism behind since he settled in the “Venice of the North, ” despite mustering just one league win so far. “What I can say is that I found a group disappointed with its results, but very receptive, with a great desire to progress, ” he told Le Soir newspaper. “I didn’t arrive in a club where the foundations were in sand, but it was necessary to consolidate all that, by working a lot. It takes time. At six years old, my son would have liked to learn to ride a bike in half an hour.
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