Răzvan Lucescu: I Am PAOK’s Coach

Răzvan Lucescu. (Photo: Eurokinissi)

Referring to a report circulating Turkish media linking himself to Turkish giants Besiktas, PAOK coach  Răzvan Lucescu wanted to clarify to NOVA’s television channels that the only thing on his mind is being coach of the “double-headed eagle from the North (PAOK)”

Analytically, he told Nova:

On the matter of preferring one opponent to another at this stage in the Greek Cup: “No, I did not have a clear preference with whom to play. What I do know though, very well, is that whoever our opponent might be we must prepare our squad with total intensity. That’s what got us here to this point and that’s what we have to continue to do until the end, just a complete seriousness in pursuit of achieving our goal.said, ” I can not say anything about that because we have to keep focused on our next league match against Atromitos. The Greek Cup match is in a month from now, the semi-finals will be interesting because the teams remaining in the cup are close in the standings and similar in quality. Every team has their own chance to make the cup theirs, so I expect the match to be an interesting one”.

When asked about the match against Panathinaikos, the Romanian coach said, ” In a match that you have won with a score of 0-2, that perhaps could have been won 0-4, how should I feel? It’s natural to have a great deal of satisfaction. It’s important to not think about the missed chances that we had to have a greater winning margin, but to focus on the positive performances of the players and next time being more aggressive on offense so that we put a match away sooner. Playing that match with Panathinaikos, a team that has talented players and good organization on the pitch is very important. In order to properly compete for silverware at the end of a season, a team needs to know how to build-up attacking plays, but at the same time, have the right mentality and operation in defense so we can have more effective offensive transition. It’s all connected. It is a matter of team mentality and knowledge of how to manage a match. We started the first half in a perfect way. We dominated the possession, we scored in the first minute from a corner that we won from pressing high on the field and being aggressive. We had the same motives in the first and the second halves so it was natural that we were rewarded with another goal. Panathinaikos was put into a position where they had to take risks, and in doing so allowed us to find spaces behind their defense but were unable to capitalize on chances that we had. Keeping in mind who our opponent is in every match, this match was going about the same as the ones that we played against Olympiacos and AEK until the point where Leo Zamba go the red card. There are other matches such as the ones with Panionios, Pas Giannena, Larisa which are teams that defend more. The important thing is to know how we will react in those games and go in with a serious game-plan on how to unlock the defense while staying responsible in our own defensive responsibilities.

Răzvan Lucescu was asked about how it feels to have an entire year under his belt at the helm of PAOK, ” I don’t think about it too much. It shows a prime example of the right club mentality,I am focused every time on the next game. Of course, in the next year, I will also have a glass of cognac to remember all these moments and the wonderful years at PAOK and the great results. The coach however, has to stay focused on the next match and the near future”.

On Turkish media reports that his future could lie in the neighboring country: “I am lucky that I don’t pay attention to anything the media says. From there on, I have not spoken to anybody else in a foreign country, with anybody from any team, I remain focused and committed to PAOK. I have a contract with PAOK, I have a lot of respect for the president of the club who gave me the opportunity to be here and he created a fantastic team. I will speak with him about my future and we will decide together. If I decide to leave and I decide to get involved in other projects such as looking after my beloved animals on a farm or just spending time with my wife, who has sacrificed so much to me, I will speak with him first”.

For the match against Atromitos: “First of all, we have to start from the fact that Atromitos the last two years finds itself in the top slots of the league table. Right now they are in third along with AEK. They are a fast-paced team who doesn’t like to not have the ball but they defend well and they always try to aggressively counterattack. We must be mentally ready to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself throughout the course of the match”. In a game you have won with 0-2 and you could have won with 0-4, how can I be? It is normal that there was satisfaction and it was what I had to do. It might not have affected my outcome in other circumstances, but performance, making opportunities that we did not score. Playing this game with Panathinaikos with talented players and good organization is very important to win.