Okereke Reveals Why He Struggled In His First Season At Brugge


The Nigeria youth international lifted the Belgian league title in his maiden campaign in the country, but he believes he could have done more

Club Brugge striker David Okereke says he is better prepared to face and outwit opposing defenders in the Jupiler League who made life difficult for him during last season.

Brugge splashed €8 million on Okereke and handed the then 21-year-old a four-year deal to convince him to join from Italian Serie B club Spezia Calcio last summer.

The Nigerian U-23 star had scored ten goals and provided 12 assists in 33 appearances across all competitions for Spezia in the previous season to become the darling of suitors across Europe.

After a spectacular start to life in Belgium, scoring four goals in his first three matches for the Blue-Blacks, Okereke managed only seven more goals in all competitions for the rest of the campaign.

His last goal for FCB came way back in December.

Okereke has had the last few weeks of vacation to diagnose what went wrong in his first year in Belgium, which includes defenders finding a way to stop him after an initial surprise period.

And ahead of the new league season which kicks off this weekend, the 22-year-old is confident he is better prepared for the challenges to come.

“I now try to be better prepared, to recover faster,” Okereke told Voetbal Magazine.

“The surprise effect played around this period last season. Defenders didn’t know me very well. Later they had the manual, I was an open book.

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“Less space to dive in, harder taps too. I got frustrated more easily myself.

“We also changed systems, 4-3-3 became 3-5-2. It wasn’t until the end of the season that I understood the teammates, when the steps would come, what moves were made.

“I think things will be better this season.”

The 2020-21 Belgian First Division A season kicks off this weekend with Club Brugge hosting Sporting Charleroi at the Jan Breydel Stadion on Saturday afternoon.

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