Panathinaikos taking care of internal issues over the international break
Panathinaikos deal with internal issues over the international break, as Mollo regrets his poor behaviour and the twists begin in the future of Chatzigiovanis.
Mollo Regrets Poor Behaviour
Yohan Mollo was left out of the squad by Giorgos Donis in last weekend’s late loss to Xanthi at Rizoupoli. The French winger, who joined the Greens on a free transfer in the summer, has flattered to deceive thus far, with his late equalising penalty against Olympiacos his only highlight.
He was left out of the squad as a result of displaying poor behaviour at training. He was called into Donis’ office to be informed and tempers allegedly flared when he returned with the rest of the squad.
The club has left matters up to the player and if he wanted to maintain his spot in the team he has to improve his demeanour on and off the pitch and work harder. Panathinaikos were reportedly ready to cut their losses and part ways with Mollo in January, but the French winger has had a change of heart and has “regretted” his poor behaviour.
Donis has granted him personal leave over the international break as he had to return to his native France for a family matter, but after a meeting with Nikos Dabizas (which was in good climate), he is tipped to be included in the squad to face Atromitos. Donis played a vital role in Mollo moving to the Trifylli and has supported him over the first couple of months.
Time will tell if Mollo stays true to his word and seeks to actively improve his game and give 100% for the team - he has a history of such matters, but one thing is certain. The Greens lack depth on the wings and need Mollo to fire.
Twist in Chatzigiovanis’ Future
As recently as last week, it appeared Tasos Chatzigiovanis’ time at his boyhood Panathinaikos was coming to an end at season’s end. However, there has been a massive twist and his long-term future could be at Panathinaikos.
According to ‘Live Sport’, Panathinaikos officials are keen to resume talks with Chatzigiovanis and his manager about a contract extension. The Academy graduate received a rumoured 100,000 last season (including bonuses), and he is not after a big rise in salary - definitely not the 200,000 Euro reported in previous months.
This also stems from Chatzigiovanis failing to already land a new home. The winger was expecting to field several better offers but they have not yet come in and this has also prompted him to have second thoughts about leaving.
Injuries Take their Toll
Ilias Chatzitheoridis picked up a minor injury in the loss to Xanthi and will consequently miss the next two weeks. In a sense, the international break has come at a good time as several players nurse injuries, and in the case of Chatzitheoridis it means he will only miss one game (the Greens’ next match against Atromitos) as opposed to two.
In addition to this, Federico Macheda and Mattias Johansson are receiving treatment of their own for their respective injuries. Macheda has a minor back issue, while Johansson skipped training with the team for preventative reasons.
Fausto Tienza has finally begun training with the first team in a bid to boost his match fitness and break into the starting side. The Spanish midfielder has been out of action for several time and has not even trained for the last 10 months.
Uffe Bech, who is also yet to be sighted on the pitch, has begun training individually in the gym after picking up his third injury in the last 51 days (since joining the club). He was joined by Bart Schenkeveld, who also trained individually.
Sechou set to Become Squad Player
As a result of the team’s injuries and lack of depth, young striker Christos Sechou is tipped to receive his first taste in men’s football earlier than expected. The 19-year-old has been touted as the ‘next big thing’ for some time and looks set to become a rotation player at first.
Macheda will remain as the first choice striker, but stocks are thin. Juan Jose Perea appears to be the second choice but he is only 19 and cannot cope with playing at the top level on a weekly basis. Argiris Kampetsis and Nikos Vergos are not in Donis’ plans, which has prompted the call to have Sechou’s first team debut fast-tracked.
He recently signed a new deal which keeps him at Panathinaikos until 2022 and could feature after the international break, but the plan is to ease him into the first team as a rotation player initially.