While the trainer is proud, Luuk Wouters fights against the tears

A stunt was in the making in Amsterdam. The time was ticking away, the injury time was about to start and RKC was still in a 2-2 draw against Ajax. But it eventually went wrong. Afterwards there was praise for the Waalwijkers. Trainer Peter Uneken was proud and he showed that clearly, but left back Luuk Wouters searched a few meters further with tears in his eyes for words to describe his feeling.

Uneken replaced Joseph Oosting, who was sick at home. “If you have to make your debut, then here. I enjoyed it, it was great fun. I eventually got my diplomas to do this. It tastes like more,” said the coach in the catacombs of the Johan Cruijff ArenA. He did so with a big smile.Wouters is waiting a few meters further, head bowed.

It’s a world of difference. Uneken is proud of his team. At halftime, it seemed ripe for a defeat with many goals, as happened in Waalwijk earlier this season. “We have also indicated that. Don’t let it happen. You don’t know how it will continue this season. The goal difference can play a role. They did that very well.”

Pride, that is the feeling that prevails at Uneken. But he understands that his players do not immediately feel that way. “Everyone is disappointed that you don’t get a result, of course, and that sticks with players for a little longer. As a trainer and staff you see the big picture faster and what it can bring us. This gives confidence to the rest of the competition.”

Wouters absolutely does not have that sense of pride when he looks back on the match. “I think you can imagine that I feel really shitty. I’m very hard on myself, I’m also very angry with myself. It’s just very stupid. I just shouldn’t do it.”

The 22-year-old defender from Schijndel talks about his sliding in the corner of the penalty area. “I hit him lightly… Antony just does it smart, he runs into me. But I just shouldn’t slide. The moment is frustrating anyway. It’s the end of the match. We fight back from 2- 0, not many teams do that against Ajax. Then you have to pull him over the line. And then I make such a mistake, that is very frustrating. I don’t feel good here, but I have to continue.”

Aside from his words, the left-back’s body language says a lot. The eyes are watery, the look downcast. Searching for words, he fights against emerging tears. For Wouters it was his fourth starting position this season. For the second time against Ajax, the other two were against Feyenoord. Not the slightest duels to start. He can’t do anything with it now. “If I hadn’t done it and we played 2-2, I would have been quite happy. But it didn’t go like that. This is just sour, I think it will take me a while to process this.”

Uneken has to do with Wouters. He stands up for him, while at the same time being critical. “I think other players could have helped Luuk a little faster. In the end he comes one against one. And then he has to stay standing, he must not slide there. It is unnecessary. But he is the first to realize that, that is not necessary. I don’t tell him. It’s a shame.”

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