«We lack chemistry, we need work»
Everything that Răzvan Lucescu said after the final whistle of the encounter between Apollon Smyrni and PAOK for matchday 3 of the Super League.
On the draw in Rizoupoli:
«Two points lost for us, due to the dynamics of the game. We played for more than an hour in numerical superiority. Apollon pressured high up the pitch in the first half and we tried to deal with it, not always successfully. When we succeeded, we were unable to accompany it with proper chances to score. For 10 minutes after the red card, we enjoyed a very good spell, playing with enthusiasm. Had we scored at that point, it would have been a completely different game«.
«At the start of the second half, we were in control, but lacked the patience to make the most of the situations presented to us in the box. We didn’t engage in one-on-one situations and didn’t take advantage of the spaces left open by our opponents. We had 2-3 chances to score from corner kicks, a shot on woodwork, but didn’t succeed. We lack chemistry and definitely need more self-confidence. Given our negative start to the season, a goal and a victory today would boost us ahead of the tough matches ahead. But we have to bounce back. We were livelier than in previous games. But the fact remains: we lost two points«.
On players whose performance left much to be desired:
«That can happen. It’s possible for 1-2 players not to be on a good day. Had they been better, we could have easily struck our rivals’ balance. But we shied away from the responsibility of one-on-ones. Only Matos attempted to do that, in the final stretch of the game, messing with Apollon’s balance through his moves«.
On his own choices:
«Some players were on international duty and didn’t participate in training. Regarding the newcomers, we must concede them time to adjust, to understand the team, their rivals, the league. We must protect the newly-signed players, because when they get in form, they will provide higher quality to our group. As for the length of the pitch, the ball was moving slow and our opponents had the luxury for faster transitions. As stated before, we failed to take advantage of that with some one-on-ones«.
On the difference between Apollon’s and PAOK’s potential:
«In theory there is. But on the pitch some things are different. I know that, whatever I say, you will come up with arguments to the contrary. We are human and each one has different feelings about things. Before the match, I spoke to 1-2 players and they told me they were OK and they wanted to play. If you ask them now, all of them will tell you that they wanted to win today. Sometimes however things look different on the pitch. One move, one shot on woodwork, for example, can make all the difference if it goes in«.
On the lost ground in the standings and whether PAOK can claim the league title:
«I said that we have an aim. Can you please tell me how Olympiacos and Panathinaikos fared this weekend? That’s the league. And we still have seven months ahead. At some point, our team will be very strong. A few weeks ago, I watched the Spanish Super Cup matches. Real Madrid hammered Barcelona and all players of Barcelona were affected psychologically. Even Piqué said that he never had felt Real being so much stronger than them. A few weeks later, Barcelona are leading the standings and Real Madrid are trailing by four points. I would have liked to go home today with a victory. We are very upset, but that’s the dynamics of the team. We are still in the first stages«.
On the message he wants to sent to the tea fans:
«We are all disappointed, but there is only one way in football. Work, fight and work again«.