Daniel Podence says Wolves will find it tough against old club Olympiacos
Daniel Podence has warned his fellow Wolves stars it will be ‘very difficult’ to beat his former club Olympiacos in the much-anticipated Europa League clash.
Wolves are taking on the Greek champions in a last-16 second-leg next Thursday at Molineux – almost five months after the two sides drew 1-1 in the first encounter.
If Nuno Espirito Santo’s side win, they will be heading out to Germany for the mini-tournament that is seeing out the competition and face either Roma or Sevilla in the quarter-finals.
But Podence – signed for £17million from Olympiacos in January – insists it is far from a forgone conclusion, as he said: “It will be very difficult.
“I wasn’t surprised that in the first game, they played very well.
“Some of my colleagues may have been surprised as they played really well and touched the ball with quality, controlling the game – even with one less man for some time.
“I wasn’t surprised because I know I used to be in such a good team, that played well against Tottenham and Bayern Munich.
“I’m completely aware of the quality of their team, but I also see we can beat them if we think in the right way. We can control the game and show our quality.”
As alluded to by Podence, Olympiacos – who went on to knock Arsenal out of the Europa – started the campaign in the Champions League.
He scored for them in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham – catching the eye of English fans before his Wolves switch – and said: “It was a great game.
“Tottenham were in a difficult moment, but they still had a lot of great players and a great coach.
“Every game against them is very difficult, but we did a great game.
“We could have won, but we drew 2-2. Also in London, we were winning 2-0, but then we lost 4-2.
“It’s very difficult to understand these two games, but now I’m here and people know me better.”
Olympiacos went on to win the Greek Super League – picking up just one loss along the way – after Podence’s departure.
They have also got to the Greek Cup final, in which they will face AEK Athens at the end of August.
And Podence said: “It’s a very difficult situation because, in other times, it would be very exciting to play them because of the environment.
“Now I think ‘OK, I will play my ex-team-mates and my old friends’, but without the environment and the crowd in the stadium, it’s another game.
“I know them because I played with them for two years.
“I don’t know if it’s stranger or normal, but I’ll really enjoy this game.”
Ahead of the exciting encounter, Podence took the time to praise compatriot Joao Moutinho for being so easy to play with.
Having helped Portugal win Euro 2016, 33-year-old Moutinho is a role model for a lot of young players – Podence firmly being one of those.
Wolves’ January signing says it has been a pleasure to train and play with the midfielder so far, insisting something new can be learnt every day by picking his brains.
“He’s an unbelievable player, he’s 33, so he knows everything in football,” added Podence.
“He won the European Championship, and championships in Portugal and France.
“He has a lot of quality and experience, and I can learn every day with him.
“It’s easier to play with him than other players because he has intelligence, he has quality.
“He has everything, so it’s much much easier to play with him.”