Joao Henriques optimistic ahead of first match against Turkey: Olimpija is aware of the difficulty of the task, but wants to qualify for the next round of qualification
It looked like it would be very, very difficult to replace Alberto Riera, but in just a few weeks Joao Henriques has made the fans
had already forgotten about the otherwise successful, but at the same time rather argumentative Spaniard. The calm Joao Henriques in Ljubljana provided a never-seen-before club euphoria, which is about to reach a new peak. Turkish Superclub to host a packed Stožice
And while the latter is faltering under the weight of its star players, Joao Henriques believes in his team and predicts a fierce battle for the ultimate goal: qualification for the last round of Champions League qualifiers.
“A full stadium is always something special. For every player and every coach. Ljubljana deserves it. I count it a great honour to have such support. That is why I expect a tense match. We want to prove to everyone that we deserve to be here. The Champions League is considered the biggest competition and we want to do our best,” said Joao Henriques in the press conference before the Istanbul game, adding about Galatasaray: “Galatasaray has already won international trophies. We know they are the overwhelming favourite, but it’s the pitch that will show who will be happy in the end. There are no pre-determined matches. We are ready for a very strong opponent. The Turkish champion has an excellent coach, experienced and very well-known individuals. They have clear ambitions, and so do we. We are highly motivated, because games like this are not played every day. We want to go further. It will be difficult, but we will go all out.”
Joao Henriques: “The more pressure, the better we are”
At the press conference, the Portuguese was also asked if he had asked his predecessor for advice, as Albert Riera had worked for Galatasaray before coming to Ljubljana: “I never discuss the opponent with the other coaches. We have our own expert staff. We analyse it together, ignoring the opinions of others. We are dedicated to our own work, because that’s all that counts. We know the players in our team best. We prepare for each team individually. Depending on the dynamics of the competitor, of course. In this case, Galatasaray has some really interesting individuals, but it’s the team play that is at the forefront. You can have the best players in the world, but together they can do nothing. So the image of the whole ensemble is important.”
Finally, Joao Henriques stressed that if Olimpija wants to surprise the Turkish champions, it will have to play a perfect game and make a good base for the showdown in Ali Sami Yen’s hell: “We don’t think about the competitor, we don’t think about the venue. We always go for the win. At home and away. We don’t make distinctions. It’s much better to play in front of your own fans, of course, but it’s also special to play outside. Especially in Istanbul, when tens of thousands of people will be whistling for us. For me, that’s even better. The more pressure, the better. We are preparing for it and growing with it. We will have to be perfect, even if it might not be enough in the end, but we will go into both games with the right mindset.”
This text was automatically translated using AI.