Dimitrios Salpingidis has told uefa.com he hopes Panathinaikos FC will not be tempted to "charge forward" as they look to break down Rangers FC.
Dimitrios Salpingidis told uefa.com he hoped Panathinaikos FC would not be tempted to "charge forward" as they look to break down Rangers FC's resistance in Athens.
The star of Panathinaikos's centenary season to date, the 26-year-old Salpingidis failed to register in the first leg as the game at Ibrox ended goalless, but was adamant that his side should not go all out for goals from the kick-off in tonight's return. "The key will be to take the chances we get," he told uefa.com. "We have the advantage of playing in front of our own crowd but we don't need to be gung ho and charge forward. We have 90 minutes to decide matters on the pitch."
'Tough to crack'
There is a sense of urgency about Panathinaikos this season. Having gone through a barren spell in Europe since reaching the quarter-finals of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup, losing out to eventual winners FC Porto, they would love to mark their 100th season with a successful campaign in the competition. However, reaching the last eight would involve outdoing an impressive Rangers side. "At this stage of the competition all the teams are very strong," said Salpingidis. "Rangers are tough opponents, a typical British side and very tough to crack."
'A bonus, a challenge'
Since arriving from PAOK FC in the summer of 2006, Salpingidis has shown a real ability to find a way through the most obdurate defences. He has scored eleven times in 19 league games and has added four goals in seven UEFA Cup appearances this term. "I feel very good now and I have adapted myself perfectly to the team," he said. The arrival of more competition up front in the winter break in the form of former Porto forward Hélder Postiga and Angolan international Manucho has only served to raise Salpingidis' motivation. "To be surrounded by such high-class strikers is a bonus, a challenge, because it brings out the best in everybody in training and in matches," he explained.
José Peseiro's side will hope to get the benefit of that intensified competition as Rangers come to the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, where Panathinaikos – second in the Greek league – have yet to concede in 2008. Having relied on goalkeeper Mario Galinović to keep them in contention at Ibrox, Salpingidis hopes his side can keep things tight again tonight. "In theory, a goalless draw in the first leg is a good result, but it could prove tricky because both teams need to score," he said. "In order to progress we need to concentrate and be disciplined and watch our backs."