Back-to-back for Madrid or back to glory for Panathinaikos

2024-05-25T13:50:49+00:00 2024-05-25T13:53:42+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

25/May/24 13:50

The respective head coaches of the two finalists attended the championship game press conference

By Cesare Milanti /

BERLIN, Germany – Last night, attending the post-game press-conference after winning against Olympiacos in the Semi-Finals, Chus Mateo said he would have drunk a beer before thinking about the gameplan for the final against Panathinaikos.


“I did, I like beer”, he replied when asked if he enjoyed it. Then it was time to start thinking about the championship game. “We have huge confidence. We’re gonna play a final against a great team that fights until the end to achieve their goal. We also want to achieve ours: the back-to-back”, he said.

Asked on his adjustments from facing Olympiacos to go up against their eternal rivals, he said he’s worried more about the mental side. “The most important thing is to keep the mentality, showing our toughness, taking care of details but always willing to give even more than our opponents. We will try our best and show the character we had yesterday as well”, the Spanish head coach shared.

Real Madrid will go up against one of the most dominant players of the season and All-EuroLeague First Team member, who destroyed Fenerbahce‘s frontline with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds yesterday. “Mathias Lessort is one of the best players in EuroLeague, we will try to stop him. It’s not gonna be easy”, last year’s triumphant head coach said.

“Anyway we would be stupid if we only think about him, Ergin Ataman has too many strenghts on his team: the leader in [Kostas] Sloukas, the scorer in [Kendrick] Nunn, [Jerian] Grant, [Marius] Grigonis, [Dinos] Mitoglou. All of them are great players”, Real Madrid‘s head coach underlined.

Tomorrow will surely be a overwhelming green wave as Panathinaikos fans are expected in a much bigger number than Real Madrid’s ones. “We like this environment very much. This is basketball, and I love this atmosphere”, Chus Mateo commented before being asked about the Final Four format.

“We accept the rules of the game, and these are the rules. In my opinion, 90 games during the season are too much. But these are the rules and we don’t want excuses. Final is to win, we don’t want to think about what’s else in this moment”, Real Madrid’s leader on the bench finally said.


“I think you guys got bored yesterday”

Ergin Ataman also shared his opinion about whether the EuroLeague title should still be decided with the Final Four. “I prefer the NBA system more, with best-of-five or best-of-seven series. But at this moment, with so many games coming from domestic action as well, this is the best solution. It would be more exciting for everybody to play the semifinals and the finals like in the NBA”, he shared.

After only one season in charge in OAKA, the Turkish head coach managed to bring the Greek powerhouse back where they belonged in the glory days, 13 years after the last time. “We are very happy that Panathinaikos will play in the final after many years. We believe in ourselves and it will be an amazing game tomorrow in the final. I’m very happy for the whole city of Athens”, he added.

Earlier this season, Dimitris Giannakopoulos predicted this to ultimately be the EuroLeague Final, with Kostas Sloukas deciding the game. “I hope”, Ergin Ataman answered when asked about his potential outcome. “So far, we have been successful in making predictions for our president”, Ergin Ataman said.

Everybody expects a different game than the ones were witnessed yesterday, as both Panathinaikos and Real Madrid basically always kept their leads all throughout the games. “I think you guys got bored yesterday. This is basketball. On my side, I hope to win like this“, the Turkish head coach shared.

Talking to media, the former Galatasaray head coach always had the feeling Panathinaikos would have pulled it off in May. But what was the turning point? “It was the game against Real Madrid, when we beat them on their home court. That victory gave us big confidence”, he revealed.

Finally, touching on the difficult relationship he went through in Anadolu Efes with Dzanan Musa, after the Bosnian star revealed they exchanged some words in Istanbul, he took responsability. “Sometimes coaches make mistakes. That season we won the euroleague, and I didn’t give him a lot of time. It was bad we lost him, and now he’s one of the stars in Real Madrid. I hope he won’t take revenge on the court tomorrow”, he smiled.

Watch the full championship game press conference:

PHOTO CREDIT: Eurokinissi

Read all the latest news from the basketball world