Speaking in front of the cameras ahead of the big Champions League clash on Tuesday, Jose Miguel Gonzales ‘Michel’ believes his side can cause Manchester United all sorts of problems.
Many pundits and fans alike have already written off Olympiakos, labelling them ‘plucky Greeks’ and believe a straightforward Man Utd victory is in the offering.
Looking at the Greeks’ squad, it smacks of a squad lacking Champions League experience, especially in the latter rounds. However, the Greek Superleague leaders aren’t here by accident, and their Spanish coach via Spanish press AS says their lack of experience can actually help them:
“It’s an advantage that a lot of our guys don’t have the experience at this level. The passion and motivation they have given to get here will guide us and we can cause Manchester United problems.”
The two journeys for both clubs to reach here have been quite different. Olympiakos were humiliated – in Greece - by PSG in their first group match as the French champions ran out 4-1 winners. However, clinical victories over Anderlecht and a vital 1-0 win over Benfica in Greece meant they finished second – pipping their Portuguese rivals on goal difference.
Manchester United in contrast belied their Premier League troubles and cruised in a difficult looking group containing Leverkusen, Shakthar Dontetsk and a Real Sociedad side who recently crushed Barcelona in La Liga. David Moyes’ men were professional, remaining unbeaten – and hammering Leverkusen 5-0 in Germany - as they picked up 14 points from a possible 18.
Domestically, however, the Red Devils have struggled and a Champions League spot for next season looks out of their reach – unless they can win the trophy against the odds.
Michel knows this, and says that Manchester United’s failure in the Premier League leaves a heavy burden in Europe, and one which they may not be able to overcome.
He added: “Manchester United won’t allow errors tomorrow in spite of their lowly Premier League position. The pressure can be a burden for their players. Maybe it can weigh too much for them. However, we don’t know how it will affect their performance.”
image: © Blogsession