Despite a poor league season during 2022/2023, Steven Defour still managed to guide KV Mechelen to a domestic cup final. Unfortunately for the former Burnley midfielder, his side were beaten by eventual double winners Antwerp. Defour had begun the season as an assistant to Danny Buijs, but after the dutchman was sacked just a few weeks into the season, Defour was promoted to head coach. There is a feeling that, without the cup final appearance, he may well not have been in the dugout to start the current campaign. After a run of four games without a win, Defour is once again under pressure.
Defour is no stranger to pressurised situations, having left Standard Liege in 2011 and then returning to Belgium from Porto with Anderlecht in 2014, he was on the end of one of the more famous footballing tifos from his former club’s fans. The infamous Red or Dead tifo pre-game certainly got to his head, as he was sent off during the match between Anderlecht and Standard Liege.
Currently, Mechelen sit two places above the bottom four, yet just one point separates them from Charleroi. In 10 games, Mechelen have won three, drawn two and lost five. The problem for Defour is that, over the last four games, two of these defeats have come against sides that on paper the side would see as winnable. Sint-Truiden comfortably beat them 2-0, while OH Leuven, who are now managerless, won 2-1 in Mechelen.
They did manage a draw with last seasons champions Antwerp, but then followed that up with a 3-1 defeat to Anderlecht. Their next three games look tough. They face Genk next, before travelling to Liege, who themselves have started to pick up form. They then face Charleroi and Kortrijk during November. One would imagine that if the form hasn’t turned around by then, Defour may well be out of the job.