Ferreira: “We have to use our chances in Thessaloniki”
After losing in Slovakia, PAOK boss Abel Ferreira called on his players to take advantage of their chances in the next match, while Slovan Bratislava head coach Jan Kozak is also looking ahead to the second leg.
Coming into this UEFA Europa League qualification playoff tie, PAOK were considered as heavy favourites to advance, but the Dikefalos tou Vorra suffered a damaging 1:0 defeat to Slovan Bratislava on the road without scoring an away goal. Myenty Abena capitalised on a defensive mix-up to score the winner in the final minute for the dogged Slovaks.
Abel Ferreira shared his thoughts in the press-conference: “We knew that Slovan are a good counterattacking team, but we contrived to concede a goal,” bemoaned the 40-year-old Portuguese coach. “We had four great chances to score in the second half. In the end, it’s a real shame to concede in the final minute, but nothing is over. We must start taking advantage of the opportunities which we create.
Fatigue played an important role after the 70th minute of play. For the goal, there were four PAOK players near the ball compared to two Slovan players, but they managed to score. Yes, we are playing without Yevhen Shakhov and Jose Canas in midfield this year, however I am not prepared to search for excuses. We must capitalise on our chances in Thessaloniki.”
Slovan Bratislava boss Jan Kozak was naturally delighted with the dramatic victory in Bratislava: “This goal is a reward for my players’ efforts and the fans,” revealed Kozak. “Myenty Abena was in the right place at the right time, and this is a vital goal for us. Nevertheless, it is only half time in the tie, and we have to give everything in Thessaloniki to earn the qualification. It’s important for us to continue winning games.”
PAOK midfielder Omar El Kaddouri, who was a frustrated figure in Slovakia, is sure that the reigning Greek champions will qualify for the Europa League group stage: “I believe that we will qualify for the next round with a great performance in Thessaloniki. I don’t think that we were poor in the first half today, but we failed to use our chances. We did give them too much space. It must be remembered that we are playing under a new coach and with a new style of game, and we should have been more patient in this match. We knew that Slovan would play on the counterattack.”