AEK Athens coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer believes his side myust hold their nerve when face Lille in tonight’s Champions League encounter.?
The team will also have to make a bit of history if they are to retain any interest in reaching the knockout stages. AEK have not won in 21 attempts in this competition and currently they sit bottom of Group H with just one point.
“We accept our responsibility and we must have the courage not to let this situation affect us,” said Serra Ferrer.
“If we do our job, we will create enough chances to score and win. We also have to understand that this is a normal game and we have to approach it like that. We know we have a big opportunity to win and to take a huge step, but to finish in one of the two top positions is very difficult. If we continue to compete in the Champions League, some day we will win and we all want this to happen tomorrow.”
AEK are without defender Martin Pautasso after he tore a knee ligament and midfielder Vladimir Ivic is anotehr absentee.
Lille are without midfielder Stéphane Dumont and striker Johan Audel, who have knee and shoulder problems respectively. Daniel Gygax has a back injury which could confine him to the substitutes bench.
Lille coach Claude Puel is looking to Kader Keita make a difference tonight.
“How to confront Keita is a matter for the AEK coach,” Puel said. “I don’t know his methods and whether he will try to employ special tactics to stop him or not. We will simply try to play our own game to get the result we need.”
“For me, a good result for us is a victory and we will go on to that pitch looking to win, not to draw,” Puel added. “Certainly, AEK are a quality team. We saw that in France where we had to be at our best to win. I expect it to be more difficult here in Athens and a draw could be a good result.”
Stefano Sorrentino; Evangelos Moras, Bruno Cirillo, Traianos Dellas, Nikolaos Georgeas; Dániel Tözsér, Akis Zikos, Emerson, Júlio César; Nikolaos Liberopoulos, Andrija Delibaši?.
Tony Sylva; Matthieu Chalmé, Nicolas Plestan, Efstathios Tavlaridis, Grégory Tafforeau; Kader Keita, Yohan Cabaye, Jean Makoun, Samuel Robail; Mathieu Bodmer; Peter Odemwingie.