There is no one who can cancel the success of PAOK in Europe so far. Ten matches unbeaten is the Doubleheaders in this year’s Conference League and this is not something you just pass by. Especially, what he managed in the summer, to go through three rounds, without the right to make a mistake, and without actually having received help until then from transfers, is credited more than anything else to Lucescus, because he needed mastery in management and strong nerves to withstand the pressure.
The Romanian coach with the players of last year’s team managed to put PAOK in the groups, to ensure the club a significant financial income and to relieve the atmosphere around Toumba. Whatever PAOK will manage to achieve this year throughout the season, the basis of their success will be this exciting summer adventure.
In addition, we cannot fail to underline how unusual for the Greek reality it is for a team from our country to have already secured qualification to the knockout phase two games before the completion of the group stage of a competition. And this goes to the coach and the lads of PAOK, Well done to them, but the sign of the season will be decided from here on out.
There are very specific criteria for what constitutes a completely successful season
Whether this season will be highly successful is not an abstract discussion. There is a specific bar, both within and across borders, that will judge whether PAOK has achieved something special. In Greece, success in the Championship is considered a place in the top two and in the Cup its conquest. As for Europe, the benchmark is PAOK’s run in the Conference League two years ago. He had then reached the quarter-finals of the competition and was eliminated in the details by Marseille. So, Two-Headed is looking for a path at least similar to that.
And if Razvan avoids the conversation, the problem is there
Doing an analysis of the data, he will find that he has material that looks better game-by-game than that of the 2021-2022 season. From the waist and front, for sure. There are many question marks for the rear. Yesterday, Aberdeen scored two goals in as many finals and one wasn’t even an attack, it was a free kick. Overall 20-2 were the finals and the score 2-2. Obviously, this statistic also shows how much more aggressive and productive in phases PAOK was compared to the Scottish team, but, on the other hand, the magic of Aberdeen who had 100% accuracy, just as it was magic for PAOK when they defeated Eintracht 2 -1 with 4-18 finals or Hajduk 3-0 with 6-11 finals.
If, in fact, we do an analysis of the goals that PAOK has conceded from Aberdeen, excluding the foul, we will see that all of them are from players who played in the attack, near or inside the area. Miovski and Polvara at Pitordi Stadium, Duke at Tuba. Another forward, Helsinki’s Radulovic had caused a lot of problems in PAOK’s central defense and especially Ekong (like Duk yesterday) in the premiere match.
The inability to intercept the efforts of opposing attackers inside the team area is a situation that cannot be swept under any rug. I understand that Lucescu does not want to open this discussion publicly because he does not want to expose players. He’s doing well, he’s a coach, he has to and it’s his job to provide cover for them, because that’s how he earns their trust. That’s why he avoided saying anything about Samata’s absence at the OPAP Arena, while on the contrary he emphasized his good presence, which was combined with a nice goal yesterday.
But, it is a given that in the press conferences the questions will be asked. And the questions are not negative. The problems they describe are the point and they must be solved. If PAOK wants to make a march a la Marseille and even better, it is necessary to find the solutions to tighten its defense. For now, and yesterday, just like in Karaiskakis, in the opposite way (Kenziora inside and Ekong on the bench) we were convinced that the Pole is a much more effective blocking solution, especially when the opposing team has in its composition, forwards with scoring appeal .
You have to work on the mind for it
crash test with Eintracht
Of course, a long run in the Conference League needs a boost in every way. And at this moment, what can push PAOK as far as possible in the competition is the first place in the group. Everything will be played in Germany at the end of the month, where Eintracht, as its coach, Dino Topmeller and its players have declared, will be waiting for PAOK with wild moods. PAOK should start working on this game mentally from now on.
The match will be of high intensity and in order not to lose her management, an absolutely clear mind and self-restraint are required. This particular game, although still far away, since there is the game against Panaitolikos, the break and then the match against Panserraikos, will be the most important crash test for what PAOK can achieve this year, especially now that the Germans are appearing hurt by the defeat in Toumba.
Y. C 1. The great football player can be seen by his mentality in difficult moments. Tyson is one of them and it showed yesterday as well, that he didn’t even let his team get worried when they fell behind in the score. He stepped on the gas first and dragged everyone else into his rhythm. It is also a blessing for Constantelia that in the years he is shaping his football character, he has Tyson by his side to set an example for him.
P.S. 2 I really wonder what the VAR was seeing in the phases of Constantelia’s tackle where the defender steps on his foot and the 2-2 when Rubezic brought down Samata with his shoulder seconds before Aberdeen won the free-kick which McGrath executed flawlessly.