O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
Pre-match Press Conference against Astana

Pre-match Press Conference against Astana

Please read below quotes from our club’s head coach, Mr Paulo Bento, and Seba one day before our side’s match against Astana.

Paulo Bento

Does it affect your plans that you have to play 2 tough matches within 3 days?

“We are absolutely focused on tomorrow’s match. Nothing has changed as our preparation is concerned. We are concentrated on this game and don’t think about the match against PAOK. Our mind is on Astana’s strengths and weaknesses and what will may happen tomorrow. Nothing has changed as our preparation is concerned. After this game, we will start thinking about PAOK.”

Do you plan to make many changes in the side’s lineup with regard to the Panionios match, and is De la Bela out of the squad?
“Not many changes compared to the Nea Smirni encounter. Maybe some, but not many. As for De la Bela, he will not be with us tomorrow.”

Olympiacos lost to AEL and APOEL and the got 2 wins in a row. Can you explain your side’s inconsistent performance?
“I don’t think we are a team that displays inconsistency. On the contrary, except for these two match we lost and I have analyzed more than enough, we have been consistent. We won the knock-outs, we beat Young Boys, both first championship matches, then we had 2 defeats, but reacted well. We beat AEK, then the break for the championship, we won in Nea Smirni, so I don’t think we are a team that may be characterized as inconsistent. We had a bad moment for which we have talked enough, but, broadly speaking, we are a team that performs well and has earned this consistency “.

Against APOEL, Olympiacos entered the pitch aiming solely at winning, but the early opener of the Cypriots changed your plans. Tomorrow, in terms of defense, what should be more careful of?
“A goal is something that changes the course of a match and makes you change things when conceded. This doesn’t mean you cannot react and turn the match to your favor. Against APOEL, we conceded an early one, changes some things to tip the scales and, although we got both the time and chances, we failed to convert and change the result. This doesn’t happen always. We saw that in our 2nd championship match (against Iraklis) we won by a comeback. Against Arouca, the score was not to our favor and still won it. There are things one must do. We don’t want to have the same happening tomorrow, we want to avoid that, lay with the same philosophy and, in case it happens, be prepared to change what we must and be effective enough in our chances and grab the positive result”.

What do you know about football in Kazakhstan? Can you tell us Astana’s weaknesses?
“About football in Kazakhstan, we know more things by their UEFA Europa League representative tomorrow, i.e. Astana. This is the club we have studied the most. We also know about Kazak football the most by way of their National Team. We have seen that, although they don’t have a bad team, they have difficulties in making it to major tournaments, like the World Cup. We got to know their football via their National Team, but now we are focused on Astana. Astana, like all teams, has some weak points we will try to use and exploit. However, apart from their weak points, they do have many positive elements. Like the fact they won the championship. Last year, playing in a group against Benfica, Galatasaray and Atletico, they lost no matches at home. So, they have quite a few strengths and will certainly give us a hard time. We have been properly prepared to face Astana and strike hard on their weaknesses. Astana has some cons, and it is part of our strategy to bring them forward. Astana won’t let them show, so will we about ours. This is not the right time to talk about them. We just make reference to their positive elements. So, we will not disclose what we know about their weaknesses“.

In all three European 90-minute matches Olympiacos has played in Karaiskakis, the side failed to score. Do players and coach know each other better now, so they change that?
“It is true that in the matches mentioned we had failed to score in the 90 minutes. It is also true that, as time goes by, players and coach get to know each other even more. Let us not stick to the fact we had failed to score in the 90-minute time and did so in overtime against Arouca or that we didn’t score against APOEL. Let us stick to the chances we created, which demonstrates that we did many things right in attack and that we avoided certain mistakes, thus not letting our opponent to score. In defense, we deliver properly. We keep the result and analyze why these things happened. However, we also keep the fact that we scored so many goals in the first 5 championship matches that shows we can create many goal-scoring opportunities. As time goes by, we get to know one another even more in the team. We want to materialize all the things we work on in trainings. We try to score more and more, and focus on how to correct things. Tomorrow, we will be better prepared, because the more time we got, the more we know each other”.

If Olympiacos loses tomorrow’s match, this means more chances for Astana to qualify. Are you ready to take on the criticism on behalf of the club or the fans. This might entail an administrative decision to lay you off.
“I have also heard the same question after our defeats to AEL and APOEL and I had really found it hard to understand why it was submitted. I emphasize more on the fact that results should be accepted and then analyzed in order to make the team better. Our reaction has been positive. We scored 3 goals in a derby and won an important fixture after the break. We have scored many goals and conceded very few in the championship. So, I don’t see the meaning of this question. No coach thinks, before a match, about losing it, nor does he prepare his team to lose. Every coach prepared his team in order to win and do things right. A coach in top clubs always work under pressure, there is always pressure and criticism, but, in the end of the day, there are not things a coach may control. The coach should take care of his team and work. I honestly what is the point of this question. Moreover, we knew our group schedule from the beginning. We have Astana out, then Young Boys in Karaiskakis and last our match in Cyprus. There is always pressure on the team but I think it does the team good».

Given the discussion about scoring, at what state is Cardoso since he had had no preseason training with the team? Do you think he is at 100%?
“It is true that Cardoso joined on the 11th hour of the transfer window; our team features a great number of players and it’s hard for everyone to find his place in the team. Every last-minute signing finds it difficult to find space in the team. We was left out of the squad in our last match against Panionios for tactical reasons. Cardoso is a player with all the qualities required to help us either in the starting line-up, or as a substitution. We know he is a player of great capabilities. Being left out of the squad is something that has nothing to do with the player, but we the fact that we have many players. It also have to do with tactics or with having another player more suitable for the particular requirements of a single match. Cardoso can help us, but for the time being we don’t know if he will be capped.”


You had a hard time scoring in previous European encounters. Why did you think this happened? Do you think you will be done quickly against Astana tomorrow?
“I think that in previous matches, although we didn’t score, we created many chances. I am sure we are looking forward to this match and we will do the same: create many chances and, hopefully, things will be very different this time”.

Within 3 days, Olympiacos is called to play 2 highly demanding matches, against Astana and PAOK. How do you handle this difficulty?
“I believe it is very important currently to think only about the Astana match; we now play this match and then we will see about how to deal with the PAOK match”.

Before APOEL, Olympaicos was under pressure because of the defeat to AEL, whereas now it seems you have peace in your mind. Is that so? Are you actually calm before playing against Astana?
“Of course. Winning is always a great confidence booster. Things are better for us now. We suffered two losses to AEL and APOEL, but we have worked hard since and registered a number of important wins. We certainly find ourselves in a better shape.”

It was these days last year you were playing against acknowledged teams in the UEFA Champions League. Do you have an equally strong incentive for tomorrow?
“Of course. Astana is a strong and very good team. The UEFA Europa League is a tough tournament. Unfortunately, we were left out of the UEFA Champions League, but his is now over for us. We have difficult matches ahead and we are more than ready to deal with the Astana match, although we know what the difficulties of such an encounter will be”.

This year’s Seba is much improved. Does this have to do with the fact you are now in your second year in Greece and, thus, fully adapted here? Does this have to do with your coach showing trust to you?
“It is true I feel better myself as well. I feel I am in a good shape. Is also has to do with my coach’s trust but I have no complaints against my last year’s coach. I feel great, my self-confidence is strong because the coach shows trust to the entire team, not just me. I hope this will continue. “.

Have you done our homework about Astana? What are their pros and cons?
“It is a really compact team. They will give us a hard time to win the battles from the midfield forwards. They are quick and dangerous in attack. Unless we are cautious, our defensive line will face difficulties. It is an important match. We will see how it goes. We will do our best to earn a positive result”.

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