Press conference before the European competitions gave the signal for the first meeting.


The start of the first dispute in the Conference League semifinals was given by José Luis Mendiliber.

The coach of the Olympiakos team, in the usual press conference before European competitions, gave the signal for the first meeting with the “villagers” stressing that Piraeus’ objective is to win, and at the same time he made it clear that he will not change the his aggressive approach.

He also highlighted that he has already outlined his plans for the eleven, without, however, revealing them.

Basically, the Basque coach talked about:

If your team is ready to reach the semi-finals of a European competition: 

“We will also have the same way of preparation, as in all games. And of course, this is a very important game for us. It is of enormous importance and we will give it the importance it deserves. We are not going to change anything in the way we prepare for this game compared to the other games. We are here to win.”

Also talking about whether there is a good result in the first game, when the team has two “finals” before the final: 

“Certainly a positive result is much better to start with. But what can be considered a good result? Win or draw, depending on how the match goes? Qualification is judged in 180 minutes, but you can’t think about the entire 180 minutes from this point on. We will consider the first game first. Depending on how it goes, the outcome will be decided. Either way, our goal is to win.”

Talking about whether he has defined his XI plans and what could be the most crucial point and element for the Aston Villa match: 

“If I had known when the match would be decided, we would have had a big advantage. I don’t know what will happen in the game. We are fully prepared. I concluded my thoughts and plans, also waiting for today’s training, when anything can happen. In general, I have already decided what I will do.

And the most important thing is to play this game with the same tranquility as we played in previous games. With hope and desire to win, knowing that we will play against a great Premier League team. But under no circumstances should we come with this fear and that it is very difficult to overcome because we are inferior. We have to believe in ourselves, we don’t achieve many things. We respect our opponent, but we came here to beat them.”

About… the confrontation with Unai Emery and the fact that Aston Villa hasn’t lost in European games at home: 

“They beat me 4-1 in the Cups. I won a European title, but I’m very new to it. Last season I started. The truth is that last season I achieved my first victory in Europe, I really like playing in European games. It’s something that everyone enjoys. It’s something special. Something different. But it’s the players who are out there. We’re here to guide them, help them and give them the best instructions.”

Ollie Watkins and how they will stop him from having a very good season:

 “He is a very good player, but he is not the only one who plays. There are ten other good players on the field. We prepared our game to face the entire lineup. We don’t think about how we will face a single player. Let’s face them as a team. We analyze all the players and analyze their strengths.”

If he thought about changing his aggressive approach: 

“We played against other strong opponents. Aston Villa are very strong, but we faced other opponents who are very strong. I think that when a team, because they play against a Premier League team, changes their style and adopts a different approach, they would become negligent. I don’t think we can change our style or the way we approach games. We will be ourselves and we want to be as good as ever.”

How it can be an even greater motivation and inspiration for the players to compete in the first semi-final in the team’s history:

 “We can’t change anything. If we’ve come this far, it’s because we did something right. Then we will follow the same path. All we can do is improve it. We will do exactly what we have done so far. We want to see Olympiakos do very well as they have done so far. Then we will have the chance to qualify. It doesn’t matter where we are or the opponent. We have made progress and will continue in the same way.”

Source: unsports