Reports shed light on Sokratis/Manolas exchange with Grammenos
Following the painful UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Armenia, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Kostas Manolas approached EPO President, Evangelos Grammenos, and demanded extreme changes in the national team. AGONAsport takes a closer look at their exchange.
On Tuesday, Greece fell to an embarrassing 2:3 defeat to Armenia in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying and dropped further behind in the Group J standings. In a post-game interview on Cosmote TV, Greece captain, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, called for changes across the board in the national team and an angry Angelos Anastasiadis fought back with harsh words about the Arsenal defender in the official post-game press conference.
As captain, Papastathopoulos took the blame on behalf of the players’ display against Armenia, but the 31-year-old also mentioned that those governing Greek football must also speak up and take responsibility for their decisions.
SportFM.gr then reported that two of Greece’s most experienced players, Papastathopoulos and Kostas Manolas, met with Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) president, Evangelos Grammenos, clearly stating their concerns regarding the national team and if immediate, drastic changes are not made, they will stop playing for the Galanolefki. It was an SOS call from two of Greece’s best players and captains - Torosidis was not called up due to a reported spat with Anastasiadis.
Ironically, before the match, Grammenos told reporters of Cosmote TV that Anastasiadis’ position is not in danger regardless of the result against Armenia. However, after these developments, the Greek boss is expected to be sacked by the federation.
SDNA.gr sheds more light on this conversation between the players and Grammenos
Today, officials from the EPO met and discussed the developments surrounding the Ethniki. Grammenos informed his coworkers that both Kostas Manolas and Sokratis Papastathopoulos approached him after Tuesday’s loss to Armenia.
Manolas appeared outraged while explaining the dramatic situation within the Ethniki’s locker rooms and put full blame on coach Angelos Anastasiadis. Manolas told Grammenos “with this coach we are destroying ourselves and I cannot be apart of this catastrophe. It is not possible for us to witness what is happening and for us not to do anything to avoid the ‘shipwreck.’ I can not play for the Ethniki as long as this coach remains.”
According to what Grammenos told his associates, Papastathopoulos tried to diffuse the situation by calming Manolas down and took over with words of his own. He told the EPO’s president that he needs to decide who is/are responsible for the Ethniki’s image and to get rid of him/them immediately to save what can be saved.
“President, we should all take responsibility for this situation. I publicly took full responsibility on behalf of the players, because that is what I should do as the team’s captain. If I am to blame for this crap, or Manolas, or Torosidis, you should send us home. If something/someone else is to blame, you again must make your decisions. Whoever is to blame, should go home.
If you judge that I do not do good to the national team or if I am the one responsible for this image, send me home for the good of the team. We should all take responsibility for this situation, for the good of the Ethniki. Take any decision that you judge is correct. You should not allow the Ethniki to be destroyed. Many players are dissatisfied and upset with this situation and they also say that something drastic must take place, something must change. You, as the president, will decide what needs to change. But we cannot find ourselves in this situation any longer.”
Grammenos responded “I hear you all, I will need two to three days to make my decisions.”
The report states that the “many players” referred to by Sokratis literally includes many players. Many, many players. In essence, these players have told the captain these same things and worse - for example Manolas who spoke with outrage to Grammenos on Tuesday.
Grammenos to meet with Anastasiadis in coming days
According to gazzetta.gr, Grammenos will meet with Anastasiadis in the coming days to discuss the many issues plaguing the team. At the moment, the Greek media indicate that the Greek boss will be sacked and replaced by another Greek manager with Marinos Ouzounidis and Traianos Dellas emerging as leading candidates. The possibility of a foreign manager, such as Manolo Jimenez, whose name has been linked with the Galanolefki, seems bleak due to the federation’s low budget allocated for the national team’s head coach salary.
Reports also mention that Greek-Australian manager, Ange Postecoglou, is interested in the position and the 53-year-old coach considers it a great honor to lead the Greek national team. Postecoglou currently coaches Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, but is willing to take a pay cut to coach the Ethniki.
Gazzetta also reports that Stelios Giannakpoulos could be appointed as interim manager, similar to how Kostas Tsanas was appointed during the disastrous Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. With the sacking of Anastasiadis and his staff, a greater financial burden will be put on the federation (paying off broken contracts) and as a result, limiting the possible options for Anastasiadis’ successor.
More developments are expected in the coming days and next week.