June 1, 2023

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A crime against PAOK, a crime against themselves

After the difficult night that PAOK had yesterday at the OPAP Arena, some are talking about a great missed opportunity, in the battle for third place, to join Olympiacos in the standings. I’ll forgive, but even before the team entered the playing area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe AEK stadium, the messages I sent did not create the feeling that a group of players would descend into Athens with knives in their teeth, ready to “die” for points.

As a precautionary measure (as PAE’s official information reported on Tuesday), due to some inconveniences, the two fittest players in PAOK, Tyson and Douglas, are not even on the bench to help out if the need arises, meaning the club is now prioritizing games. If the two Brazilians were precautionary “protection” because there was a risk of them getting injured and losing in the cup final, I can understand that. However, if they are simply running late to play Aris on Sunday and in the next play-offs, sorry, the importance of the derby with AEK has been consciously downgraded.

Yesterday, PAOK seemed psychologically unprepared for such a difficult match against AEK who wanted to go head-to-head with Panathinaikos on Sunday, without losses, and went down with a terrible mood and passion (and in the stands) to win the double title. my path.

The concentration was not at its peak and this was shown in the naivety with which the mistakes were made in the crowd, but also in the overall management of the match right up to the very end. This also affects Lucescu himself. But before we go there, let’s talk about how bad the match started.

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Karga’s handling caps on Johnson’s heel, while an AEK player in midfield, next to the touchline and heading toward his team’s area, can only be compared to a felony offense. The Kilkisiotis stopper has “hung” his team in a red that could not be accepted by a player playing on a top team like PAOK. He (nothing related has been leaked) must have been fined heavily since last night for receiving the letter, both himself and the ‘black and white’ dressing room as a whole.

Inexperienced who does not come out of eleven?

Besides, I don’t accept Kotarski’s description of being inexperienced. This year alone he has played 36 matches. Passes like Johnson’s missed chance into an empty net and Zuber’s goal are unforgivable and display criminal overconfidence. Lucescu who was “yelling” at him to make long balls will have to work a lot with him.

The fact that the players made the most serious mistakes in the match is no excuse for the rest of the contenders. If one excludes Engasson and Constantia, who is the only player who felt the defense of AEK, then the rest showed negativity. The relaxed mentality of the team in a game so important to the opponent is simply incomprehensible. Obviously due to what we emphasized above, PAOK did not prepare psychologically for this match.

The training is reminiscent of the match against Chelsea in London

Those who have followed the author for years know that I hold Lucescu in high esteem both for his ability to prepare his team competitively and psychologically as well as for training during matches. Yesterday, however, was under a bad moon in both regions. Since we talked about setup above, let’s focus on the limp. Even after so long into the game, I still don’t understand why while he made the decision to go forward (Brandon) to put the 0-0 stopper (and seconds later PAOK conceded the first goal), he moved forward again (Oliviera) while the match “faded” at 2-0 And he could have simply managed, for example to keep the changes a little later and maybe put Vierania in one of them, so that the pace would go down and PAOK would avoid unnecessary collapse. In my opinion, knowing the way Lucescu works, I think it just occurred to his mind in what positive he could get for some of his units from the match, not thinking about the possibility of a heavy result. as mentioned. It reminded me of the match against Chelsea in London where, halfway through the local duo, he put together an odd line-up and Varela, wanting to rest him, finally used him towards the end of the match.

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I hope the defeat does not affect PAOK psychologically

And the last thing about managing the match and the heavy defeat in the final. Lucescu was asked at the press conference if he feared that this result would create a psychological problem for the team before the final match, and he rejected this possibility. However, in the last two matches, in the playoffs, AEK has got two big points against PAOK and will surely come to play with a psychological advantage, small or large, that Dikefalo players have to contend with.

I remember how when Milan conceded four goals against Napoli in a league match, in the southern Italian city, they said, ‘Well in the league we’re indifferent, in the Champions League we’ll pass them easily’ and we finally saw Milan eliminate Kvarachelia’s side.