Emotional Lucescu reflects on unbeaten Super League season
Following the 2:0 Super League victory against PAS Giannina on Sunday, PAOK boss Razvan Lucescu fought back tears of pride with the Thessaloniki club finishing the season unbeaten.
Having secured the title last week against Levadiakos, PAOK only had one task left in the Super League: finish the campaign unbeaten. Thanks to markers from Chuba Akpom and Yevhen Shakhov, the Thessaloniki-based organisation comfortably achieved that goal, beating PAS Giannina 2:0 on the road to condemn their opponents to relegation. PAOK head coach, Razvan Lucescu, was almost reduced to tears in the ensuing press-conference as the achievement began to sink in.
“Yes, it’s unbelievable,” stated a notably emotional Lucescu. “Sorry, I am very touched. I am so proud of our players who have worked with me, so proud of my technical assistants, so proud of the people who were close to us and supported us. I am so proud of PAOK’s management; we have been an extremely strong team in these two seasons. I am happy we gave such satisfaction to our fans.
We wanted this a lot. We fought hard for this all season. Given that we began the campaign with a two-point deficit, it was very difficult.”
Lucescu went on to note the togetherness of his PAOK squad: “Together, in both tough and good moments, we fought to win and claim this achievement. These players will remember this season years after they have finished their careers. They will be able to say to themselves that they achieved something important in this country.”
Nevertheless, with the Greek Cup final approaching against AEK, Lucescu is aware of the fact he can’t relax: “Our goal is to now win the Greek Cup. We have to calm down and focus on this target.”
“I think the key moment of the season was the victory against Olympiacos in Piraeus,” continued Lucescu. “Our huge desire to win the championship allowed us to stay in first position during the entire campaign. The PAOK owner has given me the opportunity to work with these fantastic players. Quality is important, but it’s also crucial to have great characters within the team. This is the best moment of my career.”
The 50-year-old Romanian also shared his opinion on the possibility of the Greek Cup final being played behind closed doors in Athens: “Football is for fans. The atmosphere which supporters create in Greece is rarely seen in other European countries. It isn’t my decision though, and I’m not responsible for the verdict.”
PAOK finished the 2018/2019 Super League with 26 victories and four draws in 30 matches, becoming the second Greek team in history to finish a single campaign without a defeat after Panathinaikos did the same in the 1963/1964 season. The Dikefalos tou Vorra will now attempt to win their third consecutive Greek Cup on Saturday against rivals AEK.