Chance for Panathinaikos to salvage some pride against Tottenham

Panathinaikos 300x225 Chance for Panathinaikos to salvage some pride against Tottenham Panathinaikos have the chance to qualify for the Europa League knockout stage if they can overcome Tottenham at White Hart Lane tonight.

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 Images

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  • Mark Suheil Kontopoulos

    “Although he’s less experienced than his predecessor…”
    “Winning at White Hart Lane would be Rocha’s first and most important success as manager yet.”

    Let us not forget that Rocha was the manager that led Panathinaikos to the Champions League semifinals in 1996, a run which included a 0-1 win vs defending champions Ajax in Amsterdam – the legendary Dutch team’s first home defeat in 13 years at the time.

  • Chris Wheatley

    Very good point, Mark. I didn’t touch on his successes as a manager in the ’90s and that is obviously a massive achievement.
    However, I think that this new Panathinaikos side is so financially constrained and problematic it would be his biggest achievement as manager to qualify them for the knock-out stages – purely for the fact they’re weaker on and off the pitch.

  • Andonis Paleocrassas

    Rubbish!!! Even with a weaker side, it is a much bigger achievement to beat that great Ajax team in the Semi final of the Champions league than to have beaten Tottenham today to qualify for the group stages of the Europa league. The team in ‘96 was made up of 9 Greek players and two Polish players, all of who were relative unknowns to the majority of the footballing fraternity. How you can even compare the two is preposterous. Anyway, you are obviously just back tracking because you are obviously obivious to any of Rocha’s previous successes. Dont get me started on the rest of your article. Toche has been substandard this season, to say the least, Mavrias has mostly been an impact player coming off the bench and Kapino hasnt kicked a football this year with Karnezis’s form. Better to write nothing instead of rubbish mate.

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