Igor introduces more players
Positive conclusions and normal concerns are typical after each preseason friendly game, especially with new beginnings. They are useful to Igor Tudor as he assesses his team’s progress ahead of the UEFA Europa League encounters.
Against VfL Bochum, PAOK players displayed several elements that Igor Tudor wants them to implement in their game. They also showed some signs of weakness, deriving from their fatigue rather than tactical deficiency.
And that is more important than their defeat in the second friendly encounter of their preseason stage. PAOK lost 4-3 to VfL Bochum in a quick-tempo match –especially in the first half. Some of the goals –as Igor Tudor said- come once every three years…
Tudor fielded the 3-5-2 formation he has been working on in PAOK’s preseason in the Netherlands and he used two different line-ups, one in each half. In the first half, PAOK applied pressure high up the pitch to gain ball control and lay the ground for their attacking game. They created several chances against VfL Bochum, however the German side took advantage of PAOK’s fatigue before the interval and took the initiative.
In the first 20 minutes, PAOK players had rhythm and were fresh both physically and mentally. Facundo Pereyra scored the opener after 6 minutes of play and the Germans equalized through Ricardo Costa’s own-goal. In his effort to clear the ball, the Portuguese sliced it into his own net to the dismay of goalkeeper Robin Olsen who made his debut for PAOK.
PAOK reacted immediately and it was Pereyra’s turn to have luck on his side, as he saw his shot get deflected and land at the back of the net. VfL Bochum leveled again thanks to a back-heeled goal by Hoogland in the 32nd minute. Ten minutes later, Miguel Vítor passed the ball back to Olsen, but the Swedish keeper could only see it pass under his feet and cross the goalline.
Just before the completion of the first half, PAOK players charged down the flank and Stelios Kitsiou made it 3-3 for the “Double-Headed Eagle”. The German side however scored the winner in the 66th minute through Gregoritsch.
Among the positive conclusions of the first half, one could name the attacking pressing, the ball circulation and the quality of Lucas Pérez, who cooperated ideally with his teammates and stood out in PAOK’s attacking plays.
After the interval, PAOK tried to maintain their tempo, pass the ball around and look for game switches through Alexandros Tziolis’s quality and capability in long-range passing. Despite having participated in less training session than his teammates, the Greek midfielder looks in very good form. Charis Charisis was also good in midfield. In his debut for PAOK, Olsen proved being a keeper who can fill his goal and control his domain. However, as all newcomers, he still needs to get in synch and gain a better understanding of the team and his teammates.
In his press conference after the end of the encounter, Igor Tudor said: “Overall I am satisfied, especially from my players’ efforts in the first half. We were rather soft in defence, but it wasn’t related to tactics. The Croatian coach added that “my main concern today was to give all players time on the pitch. We are midway in our preseason stage and, despite training on a daily basis, we need friendlies in order to fine-tune the team”.
With regards to the players who joined the squad later than the rest, Tudor said: “Some players have had fewer training sessions like Róbert Mak who just came to the Netherlands to join us. I also count on our internationals, but we have to be smart and handle them with care. For example, we have Κorovesis to cover for Mak as they feature in the same position. However he is still young and needs time to reach the desired level. Therefore it’s best to split time for this position between Răzvan Raț and Mak”.
PΑΟΚ: Olsen (46′ Glykos), Vítor (46’ Skondras ), Costa (46’ Papagiannopoulos), Tzavellas (46’ Pougouras), Κitsiou (46’ Μystakidis), Μak (46’ Κorovesis), Μaduro (46’ Τziolis), Golasa (46’ Κace), Pelkas (46’ Charisis), Lukas (46’ Κ.Savvidis), Pereyra (46’ Salpingidis).