Ferreira: “We must remain focused on our task”
The two respective head coaches, Abel Ferreira and Jan Kozak, spoke to the media ahead of the second leg of the 2019/2020 UEFA Europa League playoff tie between PAOK and Slovan Bratislava.
PAOK require a big European night at the sold-out Toumba Stadium to prolong their continental campaign. In the first leg, PAOK contrived to concede a bitter 1-0 defeat to the Slovakian champions on the road, as Myenty Abena bundled in a stoppage-time winner with goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis flapping.
Abel Ferreira wants his players to stay focused on their target:
Thoughts on the second match against Slovan: “The most important thing is to be focused on our task. We all know what we need to do in order to progress. If we concede, we’ll have to score three. We’re ready for any possible situation. We control what we do on the pitch tomorrow. I have created a plan for this game. There are 90 minutes left in this tie, and we must do everything possible to qualify for the next phase. Our fans will help us achieve our goal.”
The slender Slovan advantage: “Yes, they have an advantage at the moment. That’s a fact. However, the second match of this tie will be played at our home ground. We must play with passion from the first minute to the last. We really want to qualify for the group stage of this tournament.”
Possibility of extra time: “The mind controls the body. If we have to play extra time, we will be ready. We must remain focused on our goal.”
The form of Karol Swiderski: “The only thing I ask of my players is for them to give their all during training sessions and matches. All players must always be focused on the task at hand. If that happens, we have a great chance of winning. We understand the importance of this game for us, the fans and Greece.”
Slovan Bratislava head coach Jan Kozak revealed that the small details will decide the outcome of the tie:
His plan for the match in Thessaloniki: “I’m not going to answer that. The team will aim to qualify for the group stage.”
Favourites for qualification: “Before a ball was kicked, PAOK were the favourites. They are still the favourites to progress. Small details will decide who qualifies.”
Opinion on PAOK: “At the weekend, PAOK had a tough league game which they managed to win. We also watched their matches against Ajax. PAOK have a high-quality team and it will be a tough game for us.”
Absence of Marin Ljubicic: “I have an idea as to who will take his place, but I won’t reveal anything yet. I hope that our plan works. Aleksandar Cavric? We’ll see if he’s healthy enough to play at least some minutes.”
Preparation for the second leg: “It was no coincidence that we won the first match in Slovakia. We feel calm and relaxed. PAOK will punish every mistake we make, so we have to be fully focused throughout proceedings. The details will decide the outcome.”