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PAOK is optimistic about the match with Gabala on Thursday

15 September 2015 / 18:09:18  GRReporter
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After its first win since the start of the Greek football championship with 3:0 against Veria, PAOK is preparing for its first participation in the Europa League this year. The opponent of the black-and-white team of Thessaloniki will be the Azeri team Gabala that recorded a loss in the last match in the national league, thus further enhancing the optimism of PAOK to win.

The match will be played on 17 September in Baku, where the Greek players will arrive tomorrow. PAOK's composition for the match with Gabala has not yet been announced but it is unlikely that Dimitar Berbatov will not be included in it.

Today PAOK's sporting director Frank Arnesen defined him as an extremely valuable asset. During a press conference, he told how the team of Thessaloniki had acquired him literally at the last moment. "Transfers end on 1 September. Sometimes it is necessary to wait until the last minute to see which players you can include in the team. Mr. Savidis was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to have Berbatov. All would like to have Berbatov. Who would not want that? The question is whether you can sign a contract with him. We thought we would not be able to acquire him as he was in talks with two English teams. For fans and football in general, it is wonderful that he will play here. On behalf of PAOK, I am proud that we have been able to acquire Berbatov and this would not have happened without Mr. Savidis. Therefore, we need to thank him. I followed Berbatov’s game from the start. He is a world class star."

The Dane added that the presence of the football ace in the midfield is important because "the experienced players are in the axis of the team, as the important decisions that determine the end of matches are taken there. The more difficult moments of matches require experienced players. They provide direction and advice regarding the strategy of the team at that particular moment."

Arnesen added that both Berbatov and PAOK’s other striker Stefanos Athanasiadis (Klaus) fall into this category. The fact is that coach Igor Tudor aims to unite them into a "killer couple", without damaging the balance of the team."

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian player has already undertaken to advise his younger teammates. After the match with Veria Berbatov made a remark to his young teammate Dimitris Pelkas regarding the delay in passing the ball, which according to the striker had had the potential to score the first goal for PAOK in the match.

However, this was not the first conversation between the two. It seems that Berbatov considers the 22-year Pelkas a talented player beyond normal standards. He told him, "You are talented and you can have a great career. Keep on training hard, be careful with your lifestyle and you will manage to earn a lot of money out of football for yourself and your family."

Berbatov’s attention is filling Pelkas with enthusiasm, which is making his game more confident, according to the team. Of course, all expect that they will be able to work together, which will result in a successful football season.

After the match with Gabala the team of Thessaloniki will have to prepare for one of the major derbies of the Greek football championship. The black-and-white players will host AEK Athens at Tumba stadium at 8:30 pm on 23 September. As an exception, the match will take place on Wednesday due the early parliamentary elections in Greece that are set for 20 September.

Tags: Football Dimitar BerbatovPAOKMatch with GabalaDerby with AEKSporting director Frank ArnesenPAOK
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