Last Wednesday, Manolo Jimenez and AEK Athens reached the Greek Cup final after eliminating the PAOK by 0-1. The negative note came when a group of local supporters invaded the pitch in the minute 91 armed with flares, forced the referee to stop the match for 25 minutes and both teams were forced to flee to the locker room. Despite all the news published, the Andalusian AEK coach was not assaulted. He explains the situation experienced during these few moments: "from the beginning, the atmosphere was violent and once we scored the goal it became very agitated, until a group of followers -because we must make it clear that one can not generalize- the most violent ones, took the field with flares, high power rockets ... trying to attack us. We sprinted into the locker room but our goalkeeper Sebastian Saja, was hit by a flare and his shirt was burned down. At all times we were helped by the PAOK players and staff, who showed great sportsmanship and protected us all the way to the locker rooms. I have made it clear that at no time was I assaulted. This episode is not good and it doesn’t benefit the image of Greek football, it happens too often".
Regarding the final that will be played by AEK, Jimenez acknowledges that his team is "very motivated, but we are not confident because we are being considered as favorites. Atromitos is a team that has grown immensely in recent years, last season they went very far in the Greek Cup and almost got qualified for the UEFA. They are tough, and have eliminated important teams to be in this final. What I will not hide is that I’m very happy with my team, because we have eliminated great teams to achieve this final, like Panathinaikos. We are full of motivation. "
In regards to the League, the Andalusian has said that "out of the four matches that we still have to play, there is one that we find particularly difficult, against Olympiacos this weekend. We come from an intense week after Wednesday's match but we try to keep the players' motivation high and not take into account how tired they are, we will have between 3 and 4 injured players... We're third in the ranking, which is the highest position we can reach if we consider the budget of the top two, which have been reinforced with 13 players ... it is very difficult to compete against it".
Finally, Manolo Jimenez reviews the season: "The balance is very positive on a personal level. This experience is helping me to grow as a person and as professional. It is clear that the level of the Greek League is not like the Spanish, but there is a tremendous difficulty in every game, you live with passion, yet there is much pressure, soccer is strong, aggressive, and you have to control your mood, your philosophy and your ideas; if you have no self control, no one could lead a team here".