Olympiacos Turn to Old Hand Lemonis
Experienced Greek coach Takis Lemonis was on Thursday appointed for a third time as head coach of Olympiacos, the reigning Super League champions announced.
The 57-year-old, who coached the Piraeus club from 2000 to 2002 and from 2006 to 2008, replaces the sacked Portuguese Paulo Bento, who departed on Mar. 6 after a poor string of results.
Interim coach Vasilis Vouzas, who has been handling senior team affairs since Bento’s departure, returns to his role as Under-20 coach.
“Mr. Lemonis is part of the history of our club, he has served Olympiacos as a player and a coach winning titles and trophies along the way,” said Olympiacos in a brief club statement.
Lemonis, also a former player at the club, said on his part: “I am very happy to be back at this club. I am even more prepared and more experienced, to help the team pursue its goals, which is of course winning the championship and the Greek Cup
He added: “Everybody knows I am Olympiacos through and through, but now it is time for hard work, not words. We want our fans closer to us than ever, since we are always the team leading the way and the one everybody wants to see fall. We will make our statements on the pitch.”
Olympiacos had held a 13-point lead in the title race until a recent dip in form saw them lose three successive domestic league matches for the first time in 21 years, which culminated in Bento losing his job.
Then the Red and Whites suffered a humiliating Europa League Round of 16 exit thanks to a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Turkish side Besiktas, followed by a 1-0 loss to arch rivals Panathinaikos in the Athens Derby last weekend – a result which saw their lead cut to just six points with five matches to play.
Lemonis now has a week to settle in and get his team ready for their next league match after the international break, which is a home match against playoff-chasing Platanias on April 1.
Lemonis will be at the helm until the end of the season, giving time for Olympiacos to search for a permanent coach over the summer for next season. The Greek coach will look to finish the job and help the Erythrolefki win this year’s Superleague while also hoping to claim the Greek Cup Title at the expense of AEK, Panathinaikos, and PAOK.