“When you achieve a goal, you set the next one…” Argyris Pedoulakis spoke at the Panathinaikos-CSKA Moscow after game Press Conference, setting the bar a little higher for Panathinaikos, which in a renewal season is already amongst the eight best European teams.
“It was a closed game with special focus on defense”, he stressed about the game, only to add: “CSKA Moscow used many formations, we were called upon to deal with many situations in the defensive department, on a night that our key players were not on such a good offensive day. The game was defined in details and in a pair of big shots CSKA made, team more tranquil in its game. Congratulations to the guys for the effort and their stride. We have yet another qualification ahead of us. We must regroup and get ready shortly for the progress of the season, to be competitive and pass on through to the next phase”.
When questioned about Barcelona and injuries it is faced with, he stated: “Barcelona is a team with quite some depth, we have a smaller rotation. It is a team with quality which can cover any issues it might be facing with injuries”.
Pedoulakis was also questioned about the scenarios out there and the possibility of a Panathinakos-Olympiacos pairing which existed: “I stated it yesterday. Scenarios get the fans exited, maybe the journalists also; not the team. We paid no attention, we did not care and I believe that it was something obvious during the game. I don’t think that I would like to entered a “what if” logic. Both teams are exceptional, Barcelona and Olympiakos, so I will not get into such a procedure”.
On a comment that Panathinaikos lost in a game, in which Diamantidis did not score at all, Pedoulakis stated: “Someone might see the glass half full or half empty. Only a few guys from our team have competed in this phase, only a few have the experience. Dimitris has lost his pace, remaining essentially eight days out of practice. He has been inputting a huge effort all year long and moreover today, we were facing one of the two teams with the largest budget in the league. This here today, is something the team will profit from. Diamantidis is our banner. We view the cup half full and not half empty, since even though he came up 0 in offense as you stated, almost down to the very last minute we were challenging the win, for the winner to be ultimately ruled in details”.
About if optimism exists next, since Panathinaikos faced CSKA Moscow’s big men in a positive manner, big men which Barcelona also has: “In defense we were exceptional on yet another occasion. Behind team defense we neutralized many issues, but had trouble in performing pick and dive from the very beginning. We solved it next, approached the passes more aggressively and it is a department in which a great job is being made, the defensive one.
Now we are passing onto a higher quality. You saw what happened in the Top16. It was tough to advance for all the teams. And I will say on yet another occasion that we played the entire first round, essential without are two main creators and this has injured us”.
Pedoulakis also made reference to Tsartsaris’ role: “With Sofoklis we tried to calm the game down, while Tsartsaris gave us the boost in anything concerning creation. He was the best creator in passing and making decisions. Gist is going through a process in which he learning stuff. He is not ready yet. CSKA exploits all turnovers; it has great players and a very good technical staff”.
CSKA Moscow Head Coach, Ettore Messina, stated: “It was a tough game. My team performed well, tried for all 40 minutes. It is tough when you are coming from a 17 point edge from the first game. We had to pressure ourselves further. I would like to congratulate my players, because it was not an at all easy win. We committed many turnovers… We had good two and three point range, had assists, but should try not to commit so many mistakes. It is something we will pay for if repeated in games to come in the playoffs. We will continue to work and improve, as we have been doing ever since our injured returned. I wish Panathinaikos all the best in the playoffs. The pace was exceptional and it seemed like a playoff game. Both teams wanted to win. I believe that both teams gave it their all. I believe that honestly we were more consistent in the defining moments and forced our opponents to commit shots they did not want to commit. When a game is ruled in a 6 point distance, in a pair of triples, anything is possible”.