The MVP of the 10th matchday was awarded on Saturday, November 17, to Dimitris Salpingidis playing for PAOK, who topped the competition organised by Super League, the Panhellenic Association of Professional Players (PSAP) and NOVA. The award was presented by Mr Yannis Saroglou, one of the sponsors of FC PAOK.
After the ceremony, the PAOK player stated:
"I wish to thank those who voted me as most valuable player of the fixture. I do not think this is something you have in mind when playing. You just want to win… and then it is the people that decide about this award."
- Is this a message ahead of the derby? Meaning you will play well?
"It does not mean anything in particular as regards the matches. Every player's motive remains the same whether he receives an award after a fixture or not."
- Does this first goal have a special meaning for you ahead of these matches? Is this a beginning for better things to come?
"As you know, I was unlucky during the start of the season due to my injury. I slowly try to get back in pace. It is a positive thing that I scored. In any case, as I said, what matters and is important for an athlete is for him to score and for his club to win. If he scores and his club does not win, well then…"
- So you say that it is the same for you if you score a goal, be it against Platanias or Panathinaikos, as long as the club wins?
"This is my general principle in life and my football career. For me, the winning of the club always comes first. And if my scoring is combined with a win, so much the better."
- Almost every week, a PAOK player is in the position you are today. These are signs; what is the true picture of the team?
"The true picture of the team is that there is certainly some room for improvement. We are in the second place; we wish to treat each match separately. As we said at the beginning of the season, we want to win the championship and this is something we have been trying to do all these years. We all need to be patient because we have many new young players in the team. We all know that summer was a bit strange as regards the club's roster. Nonetheless, we work and try for the best with the coach and the technical team. We hope all will go well and that we will improve with each fixture. I hope there will be a PAOK player in this position each week because this will mean that our club plays good football, wins, scores beautiful goals and produces MVPs."
- Are the matches against Panathinaikos and Olympiacos a test in your opinion?
"A test of what?"
- Meaning that PAOK plays against two opponents that held the two first places in the championship last season?
"Every matchday is a separate test. You have to win in every single matchday. When you are in the second place, to remain there and go higher, you have to win all matches. Playing against Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, two great clubs, in the Greek championship is an extra motive, but winning these clubs and losing from a –theoretically- lower club has no point because you win three points either against Panathinaikos and Olympiacos or any other club. Therefore, all matches are tests; all matches are important for the team."
- Would you rather play against Panathinaikos managed by Ferreira or by Rocha?
"I believe that this is not our concern, we should focus on our team."
- What about the psychology of the opponent?
"This can only be answered by the players there and this should not concern us and it does not concern us. We have to focus on our club, this is what we do and we hope all will go well with our team."
- Administrative and coaching stability, having a coach supported by the administration and a stable administration, are all these a significant factor when playing against an opponent that lacks all these elements?
"All these are important for a club. It is very important for a club to have a stable administration, to not have any issues with the technical team, to have a stable technical team, namely to have few changes because a team can work more smoothly this way, it can be more focused and dedicated to its goals. All goes well with our club so far and I hope it will continue like this."
- The general feeling is that PAOK is a favourite in this particular match, given the picture of the two clubs so far, something that does not happen frequently. Do you accept the title of being the favourite? Do you find it stressful?
"No, it is not stressful for me personally, I hope for the other players as well. We should not treat it like this; we should not say that either club is a favourite. It is a derby, everyone knows that Panathinaikos faces problems this season but it is still Panathinaikos and it has quality players in its roster. We need to be focused during the full ninety minutes, do our best and not concern ourselves with similar theories as to which club is the favourite. We should only do our best play so we can win the match."