Chance for Panathinaikos to salvage some pride against Tottenham
The Greek side arrive in North London with a new manager, former player Juan Ramón Rocha, appointed as successor to Jesualdo Ferreira who resigned last month following a run of just two wins in 14 competitive matches.
Ferreira’s departure has seen Panathinaikos legend Rocha take over the reins amidst the backdrop of economic uncertainty and inconsistent team performances.
In spite of their problems, Rocha’s side will almost certainly be boosted by the news that Spurs’ star man Gareth Bale won’t be involved.
Surprise draws at home against Spurs and Lazio, added to the win over Portuguese side Maribor means that they could still get out of their tough group if they win at White Hart Lane.
Salvage some pride
The Greens still continue to struggle financially despite entering into a new era of fan ownership in the summer, but it hasn’t prevented them from pulling off several shocks in Europe this season.
Rocha’s appointment is exactly what the club need in time of crisis. Although he’s less experienced than his predecessor, his footballing methods are fresher and more suited to the current group of Panathinaikos players.
“We want to play attacking, creative, entertaining football and that is our plan going forwards, not just for tomorrow [against Spurs]”, revealed Rocha before Thursday’s match.
Although some might think a win in North London is beyond optimistic, Rocha will be able to take inspiration from fellow countryman and rival manager Leonardo Jardim who has led his Olympiakos team to several impressive results in the Champions League this season.
With the likes of goal poacher Toché on their books, alongside promising youngsters Charis Mavrias and Stefanos Kapino, the situation at Panathinaikos appears to be looking rosier than it was at the end of last season.
Whether they progress into the next stage of the Europa League or not, Panathinaikos’ rebuilding programme, spearheaded by Greek media mogul Yiannis Alafouzos and new boss Rocha may be able to breathe new life into the club sooner rather than later.
Winning at White Hart Lane would be Rocha’s first and most important success as manager yet.
Last Game: Panionios 1-2 Panathinaikos – First half goals from Antonis Petropoulos and Loukas Vyntra gave Rocha’s men a deserved victory in Nea Symrni, Athens. The Greens are now just two points behind their fifth placed opponents.
Picture:Getty ImagesTagged in: Europa League, football, Panathinaikos, Tottenham
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