Soccer-Olympiacos will treat Conference final like every other game, says Mendilibar

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Soccer Football - Europa Conference League - Final - Olympiacos Training - Agia Sophia Stadium, Nea Filadelfeia, Greece - May 28, 2024 Olympiacos coach Jose Luis Mendilibar during training REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

ATHENS (Reuters) - Olympiacos are 90 minutes away from making history, but they will approach the Europa Conference League final with Fiorentina in the same manner as their previous matches, manager Jose Luis Mendilibar said on Tuesday.

Mendilibar's side can make history by becoming the first Greek club to win a European trophy, but this doesn't mean the manager will change his way of thinking.

"We have to stay calm and relaxed and do what got us to the final. To change anything would be a mistake," Mendilibar told a press conference ahead of Wednesday's game in Athens.

"We have to treat this game like any other, because that's how we managed to get to the final."

One of those games on the way to the final stands out from all the rest. In the last 16, Olympiacos lost 4-1 at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the first leg and their European adventure looked certain to end.

In the second leg, played in Serbia, they reversed the scoreline before going on to win 6-1 after extra-time, a sign that this side never gives up.

"For sure that game showed everyone what we are capable of," the manager said.

"First we went behind and then we did everything we could to turn the match around, and we managed to do so in the second leg. We realised then what we are capable of."

Mendilibar, who led Sevilla to win the Europa League last season, took over at Olympiacos in February with the team already out of the Europa League in the group stage, and has taken charge of their eight games in the Conference League.

It's been a long journey, and one which has brought them back to their home city of Athens for the decisive match of their season.

"Along the way, we've crossed the whole of Europe, playing against a lot of opponents," Mendilibar said.

"At times we were favourites, and then underdogs again. There are so many different moments and I think we could call it a marathon, and now we've reached the end."

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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