«Totally focused on our objective»
Răzvan Lucescu spoke to Novasports TV, as PAOK are about to return to action with a clash against OFI Crete in Heraklion for matchday 3 of Super League Souroti. Read on paokfc.gr what the Romanian tactician said.
On the international break:
I am very happy for the work achieved with the players present, but also sad we were missing several players. I understand though that they have commitments with their national sides.
It was a good period for the players, as they had a few days’ rest after the encounter against Panionios. They could clear their head. Some of the internationals came back sad, because they didn’t get to play a lot, some were happy with their teams’ results.
Now we need to focus on a match as important as a final. We must be totally concentrated in order to get those three points.”
On Prijović’s absence and the effect it has on the squad:
“Prijović is Prijović. He is our scorer. He knows how to act on the pitch, what we are looking for. I am sad for him, because he deserved more participation time with his national team. Now we must focus on the players ready to feature against OFI Crete and then we have time to prepare upcoming encounters. I am not complaining about players ruled out because of injury or suspension. Such things happen in football and one should know how to react towards them.”
On whether it would interest him in the future to work for a national side:
“It wouldn’t interest me. I love what I am doing. These are two entirely different situations. On one hand, a coach needs to give it 150% of himself on a daily basis, invest time and passion in order to convey his strategy. A national team coach has 20 players and just a few days to convey his philosophy and analyze the rivals and their weak points. I don’t want to work again for a national side.”
On Wernbloom and Karelis and their degree of readiness:
“Wernbloom has improved. He is better than a few weeks ago, but 100% yet. However I expected that since he has been here for four weeks. This is not preseason period where players can go through trainings and friendly games. This is a period of back-to-back games and we are in need of our full roster, therefore he will be called to play.
Karelis has shown me he is ready in terms of physical condition, he has Greek league experience and significant experience from abroad. It will be easier for him to adjust. He went through preseason training at his former club this summer, and that’s good for him and for us.”
Whether Karelis will play against OFI Crete:
“I could tell you now the starting XI of the encounter against OFI. All the players I will take along are ready. Wernbloom missed preseason training, but he comes along, to offer his quality and experience to the team. The encounter against OFI Crete won’t be easy. The atmosphere will be hot. Afterwards we have back-to-back games against Chelsea and AEK Athens, plus a Greek Cup match, where we start the defence of a title we want to win again. We start off looking for the best possible results in a period full of action every three days.”
Whether he will rotate his troops ahead of the league clashes:
“I am focusing now on the encounter against OFI. I need to think of my players’ condition and who is in better form.”
Whether he focuses on specific points of OFI Crete:
“We have analyzed OFI thoroughly. We must fine-tune our preparation in order to get these three points in Crete.”