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
Mendilibar: “We will keep on dreaming; I am well aware of what our achievement means to the club”

Mendilibar: “We will keep on dreaming; I am well aware of what our achievement means to the club”

The Press Conference of José Luis Mendilibar and the 'Golden' Scorer of the UEFA Europa Conference League Victory, Ayoub El Kaabi.

The coach of Olympiacos, José Luis Mendilibar, after winning the UEFA Europa Conference League European title, spoke at the final’s press conference against Fiorentina. Alongside him was the match’s ‘golden’ scorer, Ayoub El Kaabi.

Detailed Press Conference of José Luis Mendilibar:

You told us before the game that the season was a marathon. How do you feel now?
It ended, and in the best way possible. I insist that it was a marathon. The year started with difficulties, and we faced some obstacles, but what I have to say is that it was worth it.

Last year you won the UEFA Europa League, this year the UEFA Europa Conference League, next year?
No, we won’t win the Champions League because we won’t be playing there. We will play in the Europa League, and we will continue to dream and do our best next year, but for now, we will enjoy this evening.

You have achieved something incredible for the club. Have you realized what you have done, both for the club and on a personal level?
For me personally, today is a continuation of what I achieved last year. But I know very well what this means for Olympiacos because it is the first time in the club’s history that it has won a European title in football. I share and enjoy this with the fans of Olympiacos, and I want to continue working just as well with the team.

How important was the renewal of your contract after a bad result like the one with Maccabi in Karaiskakis, for the team to achieve all this?
It is true that there are moments in a journey that are bad and either make you give up or make you continue to fight. Our defeat by Maccabi Tel Aviv was such a moment. When we traveled to Serbia, our goal was to win; we did not aim for qualification but to make a good performance and prove that we were not the team we showed in the first game. When halftime came, we had equalized, and we began to believe in ourselves. That comeback and qualification made us believe in the future and changed our mentality. We are happy to have come this far; we saw that we are capable of many things.

Was this perhaps the easiest match of your career in terms of the motivation you had to give your players compared to, for example, the match with Maccabi Tel Aviv?
It was difficult to motivate my players in the match with Maccabi Tel Aviv. It was a tough moment for us; we were coming off a loss to Panathinaikos. We didn’t have a clear plan for our future and our goals. But from the moment we made the comeback against Maccabi in Serbia, everything changed, and we started setting goals, knowing what to ask from our players, and it became easier.

El Kaabi: “After the goal against Maccabi, I said we would win it”

We had indeed promised our fans and ourselves that we would try until the last minute to win the trophy. We did not achieve it in regular time, but we persisted until the end, and in the extra time in the last minutes, we did what we had to and won the trophy. We are very happy and celebrate together as one family, along with our fans who supported us.

You are so calm while having made history with Olympiacos by winning the European title and being the top scorer. How do you manage this?
I am very happy that we won it, but we didn’t win the championship and weren’t as successful there. We focused on Europe, and I am happy that we achieved it. I thank the coach, my teammates, and all the staff for the conclusion of this year. I scored many goals, and I am focused on my work and simultaneously happy for our fans.

Will we continue to see you in the colors of Olympiacos?
I don’t know, I can’t tell you now what will happen in the future. I want to enjoy the moment and celebrate with our fans.

In the comeback against Maccabi, you scored perhaps the most beautiful goal in the competition. Will you show this goal to your grandchildren in the future?
I often make this move, scoring with a bicycle kick. It’s something I like, and after that goal, I told my teammates that we would win the trophy.

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