Martins: “We must play as if the first match ended 0-0”
The two respective coaches, Pedro Martins and Sergei Matveev, shared their opinions before the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff tie between Olympiacos and FC Krasnodar in Russia.
Olympiacos are close to the promised land. In the first leg, the Erythrolefki stunned Krasnodar with an impressive performance, scoring four answered goals through Miguel Angel Guerrero, Lazar Randjelovic (2) and Daniel Podence to earn a 4-0 advantage in the tie. Olympiacos are now huge favorites to progress to the group phase of the Champions League.
Pedro Martins shared his expectations in the press-conference:
Factor of leading 4-0 in the tie: “The victory in the first leg has given us an advantage, but we now have to play at their home ground. We must treat this match with all seriousness, playing with focus and in a well-balanced way like in the first game. We must play as if the first match ended 0-0.”
Possibility of being too relaxed: “There is no way our players can be complacent. This game is all about the club’s prestige, and we want to make all Greeks proud. Our players will give everything on the pitch. We won’t lose this opportunity to play in the group stages of the Champions League. All of our players understand what club they are representing, and they will do everything to reach the main phase of the competition.”
Expectations for the second leg in Russia: “Krasnodar have already proven that any change to their team does not have an impact on their level of football. They are still dangerous and strong. We expect to play against the strongest version of Krasnodar tomorrow.”
If he expected to be leading 4-0 from the match in Piraeus: “In truth, the match was quite balanced for long periods. We managed the match intelligently, taking advantage of our opportunities to gain this lead. However, for the majority of the game last week, the teams matched each other evenly.”
Krasnodar coach Sergei Matveev is full of belief that the hosts can launch a dramatic comeback, while pointing out the importance of a possible penalty which wasn’t given in Piraeus:
Need to take risks: “We still have time to contemplate our plan for the match. The situation forces us to take a certain amount of risks, and during the evening we’ll decide which ones we will take. The situation isn’t easy. I hope that we start the match well.”
Incident involving a possible handball inside the Olympiacos penalty area: “Our club sent a letter to UEFA about this. There was the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in place and, in our opinion, the player’s hand wasn’t in a natural position. We can’t understand why a penalty wasn’t given. We didn’t receive a reply either. If we could have scored from that penalty situation, the match could have turned out differently. Yes, we take responsibility for our mistakes in that game, but that penalty could have been very important for us in the tie.”
Injury issues: “After speaking to our doctor this evening, we will discover whether Ari is fit enough to play. Aleksandr Martynovich won’t play. He will be back either for the next game against Ural in the Russian Premier League or after the international break.”
Chances of qualifying: “In history, there are a lot of examples when teams have made a comeback when facing an even bigger deficit that 0-4. We must have the right mindset. We need the support of the fans as well, because we understand how difficult it is to win. We will do everything to start well, and then we’ll see what happens. The main thing is that the supporters will see a team which cares, which fights for every ball.”
How to avoid counterattacks: “It’s clear that Olympiacos will sit back. That means we will have to be careful in defence as to avoid giving them chances on the counter.”
Importance of scoring a quick goal: “In my opinion, it will be good if we manage to score in the first half. That can give us the energy to score more. This situation can change. We are ready to try and make a miracle happen.”