His resume is impressive. In fact, he cemented his credentials in Greece before joining PAOK, coaching at Xanthi for four years with excellent results. However, his ambitions were lofty, and he was always looking for the next step up.
In August, PAOK decided to part ways with Aleksandar Stanojevic, and put its trust into Lucescu.
The Romanian inherited a team that was in a strange situation and from the very first day he and his associates rolled up his sleeves. Elimination from Europe and some unfortunate results at the beginning of the season did not discourage him.
He backed his players every day and asked for some time in order for the team to find its rhythm. His vindication was not long in coming. From December onwards, PAOK never looked back, losing only once in the second half of the season and playing some excellent football in the process.
The Double-headed Eagle collected the most points in the championship and won the Greek Cup at the OAKA. In 42 games in the dugout, Lucescu recorded 32 wins, four draws and six defeats, achieving the highest winning percentage of any club in the history of the club.
The saga of his return to the club lasted a couple of summers. In August 2017, however, it finally ended and Adelino Vieirinha returned to his “home”, and he obviously upped the excitement levels with his first comments, stating clearly: «I came to PAOK to win titles.»
Lucescu made him the captain and he led the team both on and off the pitch, proving both his quality as a player, but also as a person and character. He set aside his personal preferences and played at left back for the first time in his career.
In the Greek Cup he made five appearances, producing impressive displays in the games he was called upon to help, while undoubtedly the highlight of the season for him was his appearance in the final against AEK. For the entire 82 minutes while he was on the pitch, Vieirinha dominated, won virtually every one-on-one battle, motivated his teammates with his raw passion, and also scored a beautiful goal from a direct free-kick, paving the way for PAOK to win the trophy.
The Portuguese made 29 appearances for the club during the 2017-18 season, scored two goals, and provided another seven assists, in a total of 2,461 minutes of playing time.
In recent years he has consistently been one of the greatest hopes of Greek football. This was the season that saw him take one step further, shaking off the label of being a “prospect”, and becoming one of the team’s most influential players.
His presence on the pitch was crucial in every match he played in. Lucescu discovered that he was the idea playmaker for his midfield, and Pelkas justified his coach’s decisions to the fullest.
He made it 10/10 in the Greek Cup with four goals and four assists, locking up the victory with the second goal at the OAKA, and so lifting the second trophy of his career with the Double-headed Eagle.
In what was the most mature season of his career until then, he played in 36 games and scored 12 goals, also providing 12 assists in all competitions.
There are certain players who shy away from the limelight, or simply don’t attract attention by default. They are usually the calm, measured, and quiet ones, and they are always there when the team needs them.
In his second season at the club, Yevgen Shakhov confirmed that he is the man for the Greek Cup. He played in all 10 of PAOK’s fixtures in the competition, scored five goals, and also provided two assists. Overall he made a total of 33 appearances, scored eight goals, and served up three assists in all competitions, proving once again how useful he can be to the team. He was always there to provide the solutions for the team either as a key starting player, or coming off the bench and offering… a cold-blooded composure combined with intense passion.