Panathinaikos' win over OFI Crete on Saturday with 1-0 gave the whole team a much-needed boost.
At a time when rumours for a possible replacement of coach Yannis Anastasiou were heard more than ever, his team provided him with a very significant gift.
After a very close match Panathinaikos managed to overcome the obstacle of OFI with a narrow win. The team was struggling through the whole match but finally managed to gain the three points.
This year is a very strange one for Panathinaikos, who have been forced to downsize their budget. In comparison to last year’s team there are only five players left in this year's squad.
We are talking about Stefanos Kapino, Kostas Triantafilopoulos, José Carlos Gonçalves, Rodrigues(Carlos Zeca), Kostas Ntinas and Tasos Lagos - five players that, with the exception of the Portuguese midfielder Zeca, were among the starting eleven. All of them are youngsters with no experience in the big league.
With this in mind, Anastasiou - along with team manager Nikos Dabizas and manager Dimitris Saravakos - announced at the beginning of the year that this year was going to be a transitional year for the team.
Nevertheless, the fans did not share this opinion and after the first unsatisfying results they started to complain and ask for changes in order for the team to become more competitive.
The name that was most talked about for possible replacement of Anastasiou was the one of George Donis, the former coach of PAOK FC and AEK FC among others, who during his playing career was a part of the Panathinaikos squad during the years of European glory in 1996, when the team managed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they were eventually beaten by Ajax.
As we can easily understand, the team's fans met his name with great anticipation and expectations due to his glorious past with the team. The complaints about the team are mostly about the unconvincing performances of the team so far in the league and especially the disappointing performance of two players, who were personal choices of coach Anastasiou, Emir Bajrami and David Mendes da Silva, who until now have not offered what was originally expected from them.
These two players were thought to be the cornerstones of the team this year, alongside with Marcus Berg and Gordon Schildenfeld, and with their experience would lead the talented youngsters of the squad.
So far both of them are disappointing, which led coach Anastasiou to bench them in an attempt to change something in the team. All these led fans to question the abilities of Anastasiou and whether he is capable of fulfilling the original plan for this year’s squad.
All these thoughts are now put on hold after the much-needed victory over OFI Crete which gave coach Anastasiou some extra time to work with his team and try to find any possible solutions in order to improve his team’s image on the field.
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