Andre on Panathinaikos
Andre Villas-Boas is only thinking about victory as we take on Panathinaikos in the Europa League in Athens on Thursday night.
It’s Matchday Two in Group J and we step into the Olympic Stadium tonight (kick-off, 6pm UK) on one point, having dominated and deserved a win in our opener against Lazio.
Panathinaikos, however, suffered a 3-0 loss against Maribor in their opener and coupled with a disappointing start to their Greek Super League campaign - their are 12th after one win in five – Andre expects to face a dangerous opponent.
“We need to try to get the win because it will put us in a better position in the group, and it will leave Panathinaikos in a more difficult position,” he said.
“In the end, two teams qualify and we have to make sure we get what we want from this game.
“It’s a difficult game bearing in mind the circumstances evolving at Panathinaikos and when you are in a team in a difficult position, as they are, you always look to play the next game and try to make that the game that changes everything.
“I think that’s the situation they are in now and that’s why we have to be cautious when we approach the game.
“Hopefully, with the right frame of mind and right concentration, we’ll get the win to put us in a better position in the group.
“Our focus is on that and not to wait until the last moments to do our job, try to focus on getting the job done here .”
Andre has great respect for Panathinaikos and their coach Jesualdo Ferreira, who guided his former club FC Porto to three titles in Portugal.
“From what I know of the tradition of Panathinaikos, it’s a big club and they normally take a positive view of the game,” he added.
“They are going through a period of lots of injuries and that could affect how they approach the game.
“The coach is a very dedicated person as well, someone who has been tremendously successful in Portugal and knows how to embrace the philosophy of big clubs.
“They are also in a position where they have nothing to lose. They are looking to repay their fans, will try to get something out of the game and from my experience as a coach, this is a big club and they will play to win.”
Meanwhile, Andre ran through some team news at his pre-match media briefing at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night.
He reported that Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) is in contention for Villa on Sunday but not considered for Panathinaikos after completing his first full training session on Tuesday.
Jake Livermore (groin) is expected to be available after the international break.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee), Scott Parker (Achilles), Kyle Naughton (ankle) and Younes Kaboul (knee) remain out.