Valverde: Surprised? No way!

Ernesto Valverde praised his side in the wake of their comfortable derby win over AEK Athens on Sunday and said he wasn’t surprised by the impressive performance of debutant Giannis Papadopoulos.
The 19 year-old former Iraklis man made his first competitive appearance for the Erythrolefki, coming on as a first-half substitute for the injured Dudu Cearense.

Papadopoulos immediately looked comfortable despite the scale of the occasion and was one of his side’s best performers following his 35th minute introduction.

Valverde, who praised his side’s overall performance, singled out the youngster in his post-match press conference.

“You all may have been surprised by Papadopoulos’ appearance but I wasn’t.” He told

The former Espanyol boss’ introduction of Serbian striker Darko Kovacevic on the hour mark was the catalyst for an Olympiakos victory, with the former La Liga man scoring the game’s crucial opening goal just three minutes later.

Valverde insisted however, that his side’s victory was built on a collective effort.

“We were a team.” He said.

“We played as a team and concentrated – that’s what got us the win.”

Chris Paraskevas