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
Fenerbahce v Olympiacos Pre-match Press Conference

Fenerbahce v Olympiacos Pre-match Press Conference

Below follow words of the coach of Olympiacos Jose Luis Mendilibar and our player Daniel Podence.

An equally good display and fighting for the qualifying ticket is what the coach of Olympiacos Jose Louis Mendilibar awaits from his squad, as he pointed out during the pre-Fenerbahce press conference held Thursday (18/04, 22:00). Daniel Podence spoke on behalf of the red-and-white players.

The Press Conference as delivered by the Basque coach in detail:

What will different about Olympiacos compared to the first leg. Is your mind set on the first match’s opening 65 minutes when Olympiacos dominated the G. Karaiskakis pitch?
These are two distinct matches; we surely want to carry on with what we did well in the first leg and get the qualification. Certainly, we want to repeat our performing first half of the first leg. We will be concentrated and attentive, and we will make use of our strengths. But one cannot compare these two fixtures, since they are two different matches.

Can you give us some info on the starting lineup?
As I have said before, the fundamentals of our gameplan will not change and there will be no major changes. We will not compare the matches between them and this one cannot be the same. Our main idea will be the same, i.e. to prevail on the pitch and win. You try to find out the line-up one way or another, but I won’t tell you.

In the first leg, when the coach of Fenerbahce replaced Fred and Ismail, he brought the match to a complete change. Are you ready to face such a formation?
We believe that what changed the course of that watch was the timing of the penalty we conceded. We got affected by that and it changed our display. If there was something that affected our performance, that was it and following that moment, the cores of the match changed.

In the previous match, you had prepared your players to “die” on the pitch. What title would you give to your prep for this match?
The only thing I have said to my players is to believe in themselves, not to be affected by a thing and not think if we are to play at home or away; the only thing I have told them is to believe in themselves.

Do you follow the Turkish championship? What is your opinion on that and how do you believe that tomorrow’s encounter is going to develop?
I do follow the Turkish league and I see there are 2 clubs at top positions fighting for the title. However, I am not aware of the coming fixtures for each team. Of course, it goes without saying that the team to be more resilient in the remaining fixtures will be the one to win the championship. With regard to our match, we really hope to be the ones to qualify with all due respect to Fenerbahce, which is a major club. We have worked hard to claim the win and earn a great qualification.

Do you believe it is to your advantage that Olympiacos had no fixture to play in the weekend?
Things were the other way in the first leg; Olympiacos had played and Fenerbahce had not. Clubs playing in Europe are always prepared for this kind of week schedules with consecutive matches to play. There is no advantage; the one who can keep his mind under control in various competitions will be the one to pull it through.

Judging by your experience in Europe, does mental or tactical conditioning matter the most?
Are you calling me an aged man (laughter)? Experience does provide you with knowledge and a set of attitudes you don’t have when younger. But when you are young, you have other qualities which, as you grow old, you might lose. Ideally, you keep both, a young man’s drive and experience. This is what we hope to display in this match; both young and older players to help us earn a good result.

You run an amazing defeat-less streak when playing away in Europe. Is this an extra incentive for Olympiacos to also get a good result here after the end of the match?
When such streaks continue, then you come closer to the moment they will be interrupted. We hope this won’t happen tomorrow. Truth is that I win many matches and I hope this goes on tomorrow. But we must look at what we have done so far, but at what we are to do in the coming fixtures. We have to play well otherwise Fenerbahce will beat us. This is what we have to do, i.e. play well and qualify.

We see you being calm and quite just one day before a quarter-final match of European competition.
I never said I am cool and that I consider it an easy match. On the contrary, we came here to try and play a good match in order to win and qualify. Statistics is more about journalists because no matter how much you have ball possession, unless you dominate the pitch by scoring goals, it means nothing. Also, no matter how many opportunities one creates, they mean nothing if he fails to convert. Statistics is useful only to trigger discussions. For 70 minutes, I think we outperformed our opponent and, as said, following that penalty kick, our performance levels dropped. We respect Fenerbahce because they have a very good team; and I am sure Fenerbahce also has respect for us because they know they are to play against a good team.

Podence: “I am ready to help”

There is this expression “like a lion in a cage”. Were you like that when watching the first leg?
Exactly that, because this is the feeling one might have when sidelined in a match and knowing he cannot be of help. However, I am happy because my teammates put on a good display and earned a great win, and now we have the opportunity to move on.

How do you feel coming back to action after these 15 days?
I am so looking forward to it because it is really the best thing to play such a match; I am ready to give it all.

What has been the emotional impact of the match’s turnaround from 3-0 to 3-2, because there is the feeling in Turkey that Fenerbahce is the favorite team.
We came here to fight and we always love to fight no matter the scoreline, 3-0 or 3-2. A 3-0 win would have made our job easier, but even with the first match’s 3-2 result we came here to win. It doesn’t make a difference who feels being the favorite; we know we have the quality and the things we can do; we showed that against Maccabi and we came here to do the same thing and qualify.

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