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
Diego Martínez: “We fulfilled our first goal”

Diego Martínez: “We fulfilled our first goal”

The press conference of the coach of Olympiacos, following the team’s qualification over Genk.

The coach of Olympiacos, Diego Martínez, spoke after the end of the match in Belgium and the qualification over Genk in the playoffs of the UEFA Europa League.

In detail, the press conference of the Spanish coach of the “red-and-whites”:

What does this qualification mean for Olympiacos?

It was the fulfillment of a goal, despite the fact that our preparation was short, and we had only participated in six friendly games before the matches with Genk. I believe that although the level of preparation of the two teams was different, as our opponent came with more games on their backs, we did well in three of the four halves of the qualification. We had a few issues in the first half; we were under a lot of pressure. In this competition, however, things are never easy, you should be able to endure and overcome difficult moments. Our fans, who supported us and gave us courage from the first minute to the last in both matches, played a big role in the qualification.

What did you tell your players at halftime to change their psychology? Did it scare you that the team might lose their focus with what happened during the first half?

A lot of negative things happened to us in the first half, mainly because we were not pushing the opponent at all. We were neither successful in getting the ball, nor in continuing our own phases and evolving during the game. I think that, despite the fact that the team suffered in the first half, they knew how to react and maintain their focus. Our position in the second half was good and, after what happened at the penalty shootout, the team managed to stick together and withstand the pressure, and this was an important element to our success. What was said in the locker room was that we should have had more possession of the ball and entered the opponent’s area. Meaning, what we had to change from how we played in the first half. We are satisfied with our players’ performance because some of them have been with us for only a few workouts. However, I would like to repeat that the support of the people played a major role in our success. Fortunately, we managed to take advantage of all these positive elements and qualify for the next phase of the competition.

Alexandropoulos stated that he is a soldier of Olympiacos and the coach because he plays in many positions. He was crucial in this match. What elements do you see in your player that led you to provide him with more and more playing time?

What is important throughout this phase is that he remains faithful and committed to anything he is asked to do and anywhere he is asked to compete. But there are a few elements he needs to improve, not only because he lacks preparation and fitness, but also in terms of getting to know his teammates as he is new to the team. However, the wonderful connection he has with all his teammates helps him and that’s what we want in the team. Everything is showing that we will continue to improve, and we still have a lot of work to do; we have now taken one of the steps and we have to take the next. But it is important to be committed to our goal, to constantly set goals and to fulfill them.

A comment on Olympiacos’ next opponent, Čukarički.

We now have one day to recover and then we must prepare for the championship and Panserraikos. The joy of qualifying will help us receive the energy we will need. We have a lot of work ahead of us these days – we naturally want to start the championship in a positive way. I believe we will be able to make a good start, but either way, at the moment, we are focused on our next opponent. What we need to consider for now is that we have to improve on and off the field – we are a team that is now being built. It’s important to spend time together and share our experiences. This way, we offer players the opportunity to bond better with each other. With our fans’ support, we will be able to create a perfect team that will cope with the difficulties and constantly improve, step by step, through our experiences.

A commentary on the two players who arrived in Greece, Scarpa and Esse.

I will not comment on any player who has not yet started training with us. What we want is to take advantage of the continuity and prepare as best as possible for Sunday and give the opportunity to these warriors, who just fought to qualify, to rest for one day. We should also congratulate the players who competed for the qualification against an opponent who was more prepared than us.

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