The Case For Hasi - 5 Reasons Why Olympiacos Picked Their New Manager
A lot has been made about Olympiacos’ decision to appoint Besnik Hasi. And the first impressions from Olympiacos supporters don’t appear to be overwhelmingly positive. The general feeling is that the selection of Hasi was underwhelming as fans wanted a bigger name and a more successful boss.
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So, what did convince the Olympiacos hierarchy to pick the 45-year-old manager? AGONAsport delves into the top 5 reasons why the former Anderlecht and Legia Warsaw coach was ultimately the man tipped to lead Olympiacos back into the Champions’ League and continue their domestic dominance.
1. Time Constraints
It’s apparent that Hasi was not the club's first choice to take over from interim boss Takis Lemonis. Olympiacos were after a handful of managers that for one reason or another they were unable to land. Hasi was always considered an outsider for the position and a plan B type of candidate.
However, time was ticking and Olympiacos needed to make a decision with preseason training coming very quickly.
2. Experience In Champions’ League Qualifiers
It wasn't purely a knee-jerk decision to install Hasi though. For a team that spectacularly failed to make the Champions’ League last season, Olympiacos are dead-set on returning to the competition.
Hasi did just that with Legia last season. The Albanian manager led the Polish side through three rounds of the competition eventually clinching a spot in the Group Stage. While Legia did not face big-name opponents (the club defeated the likes of Mostar, Trencin, and Dundalk), Hasi successfully steered his team to the Group Stage. He has experience in this portion of the competition, and that is arguably Olympiacos’ main goal this season-to return to the Group Stage.
3. A Winning Mentality
Hasi has won trophies as a manager. He took over Anderlecht in March 2014 and led the team to the title in the Belgian Pro League. He followed that up with a Belgian Super Cup victory the following season. For a club accustomed to winning the league every season, bringing in winners is a must. The debate from observers however is whether this success is transferable. Can Hasi do the same in Greece? Anderlecht’s performances in his two full seasons in charge were not widely praised and the general feeling is that Hasi’s teams underperformed. Olympiacos will hope that he can repeat his initial success with Anderlecht in Piraeus.
4. Playoff Experience
With the Greek SuperLeague playoffs set to change and become more like Belgium’s, Hasi can bring his experience in that format to the table. Anderlecht had a -10 handicap entering the playoffs when Hasi took charge in March 2014. Perhaps the greatest achievement of his managerial career thus far is having overturned that deficit in the playoffs (10 matches in Belgium) and leading his club to the championship.
The common thread emerging from his selection is his previous experience in specialty scenarios that Olympiacos will be facing such as the Champions’ League qualifiers and the new playoff format. It is assumed that these competitions won’t phase Hasi because he has ‘been there and done that.’
5. Eager To Work With Youth
Hasi has a clear history of willingness to work with young players. He gave the green light for Luka Milivojevic to leave Anderlecht only because he was able to see the promise of Youri Tielemans. Hasi was convinced of the talent of the then 16-year-old and gave him the platform from which to grow. Hasi has been vindicated as Tielemans has emerged as one of Belgium’s most exciting young players over the last few years. The talented midfielder having just agreed a €21 million move to French champions Monaco.
In addition to Tielemans, Hasi made it commonplace to work with players under the age of 20. And several of those players now play at European clubs today. With an Olympiacos side rich in ‘talenta’, Hasi will have the opportunity to further develop these players. Youngsters such as Panagiotis Retsos, Thanasis Androutsos, and Giorgos Manthatis amongst others will feel confident that they will be given opportunities by the new Olympiacos boss.