Ferreira: “The matches against Ajax are in the past”
Abel Ferreira and Jan Kozak, the two respective head coaches, spoke to the media ahead of the first leg of the UEFA Europa League playoffs between PAOK and Slovan Bratislava.
Initially, PAOK began their European campaign in the UEFA Champions League, with the Dikefalos tou Vorra suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Ajax. Nevertheless, despite that disappointment, the reigning Greek champions now have to pick themselves up and face a solid Slovan Bratislava team.
Abel Ferreira shared his expectations in the press-conference:
Matches against Ajax: “They are already in the past. We must focus on qualifying for the group stage of the Europa League against a new opponent. We’re looking to the future, while taking this game against Slovan Bratislava seriously. We know how important this tie is for Greek football, and we’re hungry to continue showing our potential on the European stage. We must be aggressive from the first game.”
Three matches in a week for PAOK: “Every game is very important. We will prepare for the next matches after this one.”
Psychological effect after losing to Ajax: “As I have already said, the matches against Ajax are in the past. We are thinking about the future.”
Slovan’s perfect record in Slovakia: “There are no easy games anymore in football, and we will be playing against an unbeaten team at home. We must be prepared for any obstacles which come in our way immediately from the first minute of play.”
Pressure: “No one can put more pressure on me than myself. I require the same amount of commitment from myself as I do from the players. We must work hard in order to achieve the goals which we have.”
Possible changes to the line-up: “Right from the start of the season, we have had to make a lot of changes to the midfield. Nevertheless, we have a lot of very good players in this team. Overall, we played very well against Ajax, so there is no need to make a lot of changes.”
Slovan Bratislava head coach Jan Kozak believes his team do have a chance of qualifying for the group stages of the Europa League:
Chances of beating PAOK: “PAOK are a very strong opponent, but if we manage to improve, we will have a chance of progressing. I am always very nervous before any match. I always want to to my best for this team.”