Olympiacos manager Pedro Martins promises his team are ready to fight, despite the difficulties he expects to face from Arsenal.
Pedro Martins’ Olympiacos side face Arsenal on Thursday evening, as the Europa League knockout stages get underway.
The hosts are dropping down from the Champions League, having finished third in a group containing Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur. They drew 2-2 with Spurs in the equivalent fixture, but lost away from home.
Martins is hoping to go one better against Arsenal and qualify for the round-of-16. He admits it won’t be easy given the team’s improvement under Mikel Arteta and the danger their big players pose.
“Arsenal is a big club, a big team, with quality players,” Martins said. “They have a new coach with a different idea of the previous one, but it is Arsenal.
“Now under Mikel Arteta, they have more possession with the ball. They can cause difficulties with players like [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang.
“Maybe we are not the club that everybody think has much chance to win, but I promise we are here to fight.”
Olympiacos are top of the Greek Super League and on a bit of a redemption mission this season.
They lost out on the league title and their domestic cup to PAOK and former Gunner Chuba Akpom last season, to make it a couple of seasons in a row without winning either. PAOK even won the title unbeaten, to rub salt in the wounds.
Add to that Champions League elimination at the hands of another North London team, and they certainly have a lot of motivation for this tie. Arsenal would do well not to underestimate them.