Olympiakos seek to end losing habit against United

ATHENS Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:43am IST

ATHENS (Reuters) - Olympiakos Piraeus may never have a better chance to overcome their Manchester United hoodoo than in Tuesday's first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

Yet a rejuvenated United served the runaway Greek league leaders a warning of improving form in their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Greek champions, who have reached this stage of the competition for the first time in four years, will have to make a piece of history if they are to overcome United after losing their four previous meetings.

There is scope for optimism, for Michel's team are in imperious form, unbeaten in 26 league matches and holders of a 20-point lead at the top of the Super League.

Olympiakos head into the match on the back of a 4-0 win over OFI Crete on Saturday in which recent Serbian signing Marko Scepovic scored the first hat-trick of his career.

"I would like to see the same concentration, passion and appetite from my players against United as they showed in the game against OFI," Michel said after the club's 24th victory in 26 league matches.

"We face each match with the same seriousness and we believe we can get a great performance and result on Tuesday," the 50-year-old former Real Madrid and Spain striker said.

"We have turned a page and our minds are fully focused on the Champions League match with United, I can see the appetite in the eyes and on the faces of my players; they are so eager for it," he commented on his Facebook account on Sunday.

Michel will, however, be without one of his senior players after former Argentina striker Javier Saviola picked up a leg injury and was ruled out.

Saviola's absence means 21-year-old Nigerian striker Michael Olaitan, who has scored eight times in 15 appearances this season, is likely to start up front with Argentine attacking midfielder Alejandro Dominguez playing just behind.

United travel to Greece with the Champions League their only chance of winning a trophy this season, although that chance is a long shot at best.

On the plus side, Wayne Rooney pledged his long term future to United last week before scoring a superb goal in Saturday's victory.

Also, manager David Moyes was able to include Marouane Fellaini in the starting lineup against Palace after his long injury absence.

(Editing by Rex Gowar)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Champions League

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Swiss Indoors Basel

Swiss Indoors Basel

Federer opens Basel campaign in style, Nadal progresses.  Full Article 

Close To Collapse

Close To Collapse

Crisis deepens at Caterham Formula One team.  Full Article 

Olympic Recognition

Olympic Recognition

Kosovo granted provisional Olympic recognition by IOC.  Full Article 

WTA Finals

WTA Finals

World number one Williams walloped by Halep   Full Article 

West Indies Trouble

West Indies Trouble

ICC 'concerned' by India-West Indies dispute  Full Article 

Ivanovic Wins

Ivanovic Wins

Ivanovic enjoys freedom of underdog role against Bouchard  Full Article 

Gourlay Quits

Gourlay Quits

Chelsea chief executive quits club   Full Article 

Soccer Racism

Soccer Racism

Putin urged to act against racism in Russian soccer  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage