Panathinaikos FC have vowed not to be overawed by their last eight encounter with FC Barcelona.
Panathinaikos FC have vowed not to be overawed by their last-eight encounter with FC Barcelona, despite the Catalan club's impressive pedigree.
'Very, very happy'
Sophocles Pilavios, the club's international relations manager, said his team were delighted to have reached this stage but were not finished yet after today's draw at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland. "First I would like to say is that we are very happy that we are here. According to our results we are in the top eight clubs in Europe. We will try to do our best to qualify, it is extremely difficult but whatever chances we have we will go after them."
Home game first
He was particularly pleased that the first game will be played in Athens, as it would allow the team to make the best use of the fantastic support at the Apostolos Nikolaidis. "I think playing the first game at home will give us a chance," Mr Pilavios said. "Our crowd will give us the power to get a good result and then perhaps going there [Barcelona] and defending it."
Mr Pilavios picked out Javier Saviola as a particular threat in the Barcelona ranks but conceded they have a great squad, that "we love to watch playing". But he was not disappointed by the draw. "There were three possible teams that we could draw, and they were all very, very big clubs," he added. "We are very happy to play with Barcelona. I hope we have two games governed by the rules of fair play."
'A bit worried'
Anton Parera, Barcelona's general manager, was keen to avoid over-confidence after his side avoided the likes of Manchester United FC and Real Madrid CF. "At the moment we are bit worried because everybody thinks that this will be a very easy match," he said. "But when you play against one of the best eight teams in Europe nothing is easy."
"In theory to play the second-leg match at home appears to be an advantage," he added. "However, I don't give too much importance to this situation because in the end it's the sum of both matches that counts. Also, if I would consider this important I would have to be worried about the semi-finals in which we would have to play the second match away."