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Lemonis predicts golden future

Olympiacos CFP coach Panagiotis Lemonis said he was satisfied with the goalless draw against Chelsea FC and predicted a bright future for his Greek champions.

Olympiacos coach Panagiotis Lemonis
Olympiacos coach Panagiotis Lemonis ©Getty Images

Olympiacos CFP coach Panagiotis Lemonis said he was satisfied with his side's performance against a "tough opponent" after drawing 0-0 with Chelsea FC in the home leg of this UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie. Regardless of the outcome in the return at Stamford Bridge on 5 March he said the Greek champions can look to a bright future and "the golden opportunity to build a team that will make history". His Chelsea counterpart Avram Grant insisted he was right to leave John Terry and Frank Lampard out of his team, but admitted it was the "worst we have played in Europe" since he took charge after Matchday 1.

Panagiotis Lemonis, Olympiacos coach
Tonight's result won't change anything about the way we approach the tie with Chelsea. We knew beforehand it would be extremely difficult to get to the quarter-finals and that hasn't changed. Because Olympiacos are in the knockout stage, we will do whatever possible to advance. We will go to London and do our best. We don't know if we'll qualify, but we will try. We had a satisfactory number of chances to score, given how tough an opponent Chelsea are, but to win you have to score. The result leaves us with a certain degree of satisfaction.

Our tactical discipline on the pitch was also satisfying. Against an opponent like that all eleven players must comply with the tactical plan. My players didn't leave Chelsea enough room for to make chances. Lomana LuaLua is a key player in our tactical plan but sadly for us he wasn't fit to play tonight. I hope we'll have him back for the second leg in London, because he is a very important player in the way we play. Regardless of the outcome this season, we have a golden opportunity to build a team that will make history. I was also very pleased with the atmosphere tonight in the stadium.

Avram Grant, Chelsea coach
We always want to win. A goalless draw is not a bad result, but our performance could have been better. We didn't create many chances and that is disappointing. It's not easy to play here, with the home supporters creating a hot atmosphere. Olympiacos are a well organised team and technically skilled. It's no fluke they haven't lost at home in the UEFA Champions League this season. I'm happy with the team selection.

In football I never gamble. I always try to field a strong squad and have a strong bench and I will do it again and again in the future. When I pick the team, I have to think about everything. Part of it regards the players coming back from injury, if they are fit to play or not. It's a tough decision to make, but if I had to do it again I would do the same. We expect a tough match in London in the second leg. And, yes, I have to admit it's the worst we have played in Europe since I've been at the helm.