«A victory over two opponents»
Comments from head coach Abel Ferreira after PAOK’s win over Lamia on Matchday 20 of the 2019-20 Super League.
On the match against Lamia overall:
«From my side I’d like to extend my congratulations to my players. I’m happy that nobody got injured out there. Today we were playing against two opponents. The first was Lamia, who tried to do everything they could to make out lives difficult with aggressiveness and tough marking, something which I absolutely respect. The other was the pitch. The players had to touch the ball two of three times to keep it under control. The playing surface was completely dried out, the ball didn’t stop rolling and that’s why I’m saying we had to play against two opponents.» .
On Dimitris Giannoulis an his injury:
«He took a knock and that’s why we brought him off. In his position we also have Andre, who should that he can cover for him. It’s still early, we haven’t spoken yet with the medical team to assess the injury. We’ll see how it developes over the next few days.»
On the three central midfielders that he used:
«We adapted to the requirements of the pitch. We knew it would be very difficult to play our usual game, it was virtually impossible on that playing surface. That’s why I want to congratulate my players again. The addition of a third midfielder was a matter of strategy. We needed one more player in the center to control the second ball.»
On PAOK’s performance:
«We’re still in the process of building a completely new team, with a new coach and many new players. We have some gaps in the squad, such as an extra striker. Fortunately so far Chuba Akpom and Karol Swiderski have not been injured. The challenge for us is to be able to repeat last year’s incredible achievements. And that gives us motivation. We take each game as an individual challenge and we have the faith and belief that PAOK can write history again.»
On whether or not the title will be decided in the derby matches:
«It will be a new situation for all of us. It will be the first time that playoffs will take place in this form at the end of the season to decide a champion. There will be derbies, and they will surely be won and lost in the finer details, and so I think it is obvious that everything will depend on those matches. What is important for us is the next game and that the bigger advantage someone has now can play a role later. Obviously there will be teams who are considered ‘smaller’ theoretically, but which will take points off the others. We have to treat every game as a final, and get the three degrees.«
On Greek football and how it can improve:
«First of all, we all need to understand that we have to improve the product. In such discussions, it’s better to look at what’s best for Greek football and not look at everyone’s personal interests. I hope that it [the meeting between the top clubs] is the first of many. I think that as a coach, I have a great responsibility to show the championship in which we play, and the players, by playing football as attractive as possible. We have to improve the facilities, stadiums, and the pitches need to be perfect. For example in Portugal they have given a lot of weight to that, because this is where the game is played an matches are won, lost and drawn. If we all work towards these things, as owners, coaches, and players, as we ll as you the media, then certainly Greek football will improve.»
On the draw for the Greek Cup quarter-finals:
«It’s a big challenge for both teams. It will be difficult for us, but it will also be difficult for them. We have set clear objectives to repeat last years league and cup double. We’ll be well prepared when the games come around, because we want to progress to the next round, and then reach the final and lift that trophy.»