The young Panathinaikos player Kostas Triantafyllopoulos in his interview for the official website of the Super League pointed out that "all matches until the completion of the first round are crucial." The 19-year-old defender has played for the club's grassroots and noted that "The work there is systematic and thorough. Training sessions both on a personal and on team level are proper as regards tactic."
How did you feel the moment Mr Ferreira announced to you that you would be in the starting eleven players? Were you nervous?
I was definitely nervous because this was my first time which came at a hard period and in a tough match, since Asteras is a good opponent. On the other hand, I was happy because this is what I wanted in a very long time. Namely, I was waiting to be given this opportunity for a long time and Mr Ferreira gave it to me.
Do you believe that you have taken the first step in your professional career?
I believe I am in the middle of this first step. I cannot say I have taken the whole step yet, but I am getting there match after match. Each participation brings me a step closer to this first step.
Panathinaikos has not had a good start in this year's championship. What is the reason behind this in your opinion?
I am not in a position to explain what the reason is exactly. I am not experienced enough in football in general and in the A team to be able to say that. What is certain is that no player enjoys this bad start and everyone wants to change this.
Your club has invested in grassroots and we keep seeing young players manning the A team. Last year, Lagos and Fourlanos debuted and this season you and Houhoumis. Could you say a few things about the work done in the Academies?
The work in the Academies as long as I am here, since I first came in Peania in 2005 until last season when we won the U20 championship with the Youth Team, is very good. The work is systematic and thorough. Training sessions both on a personal and on team level are proper as regards tactic. All categories work based on the same system and the work is really serious, whereas training sessions are of high quality. All the staff of the Academies is by our side, from the coaches of all the teams to the psychologist, and they all contribute towards the achievement of the goal, whereas lately players from grassroots play in the A team.
Will you form the basic squad of Panathinaikos in the years to come, in your opinion?
Combined with the financial and general issues both in Panathinaikos and the whole country in general, I believe that yes, this is a start to from a really good squad in the future which will come from the Academies.
You have played in several matches in the infrastructure championships. What experience did you gain playing in these matches and which are in your opinion the pros and cons of these championships?
First of all, participating in any championship and match is important to the development of a player. Last season, for example, given that I could not play for the A team, I preferred to play with the Youth Team in all matches instead of just participating in the training sessions of the A team. And this is because each match is different and I gained experiences from each participation. It is different to play in matches and to just train. From each match, each phase I gained something different which I could adjust in my play and improve myself. I believe that my participation in the infrastructure championships only gave me things. On the other hand, it is true that stadia should be greatly improved; there are great problems in many of them. For example, it is bad to see a Youth team playing in on a pitch with plastic turf, which in fact was of bad quality; this is not a nice picture. Otherwise, it is good that accommodation and travelling is secured for U20 teams.
What is your strong and what is your weak point, in your opinion?
I believe that my strong point is my one on one game with strikers, both when the ball is in the air or on the pitch. I believe that I have shown positive results so far, particularly in the first area. My weak point is still the playmaking part. I of course try to pass the ball correctly from defence, namely to play with the ball in the ground, but I still need to work a lot so I can help the team more.
Where do you see yourself in 5-6 years from now?
I have not considered how I will be in five or six years. I try to improve with each match. However, I believe that if I keep working and trying, I will be able to lead the Panathinaikos defence and this is something I wish to do. I would really like to do something like this.
What are the three things you should pay attention to from now on in order to constantly improve as a player?
I believe I should focus more on strengthening because the rhythm and demands in Super League are much different. Also, as I said before, I should work more on tactic when having control of the ball and the third, and more general thing, is to work and try in every training session and do as told by my coaches, follow their instructions to the letter in order to achieve what we all want.
When did you start playing football and what for?
I started when I was really young. At least for five years before coming to Panathinaikos at 13 years of age, I played football for the junior team in my home town. Basically from the beginning, back then, my goal was always the same, which is one day to play football on a high level. I always tried to combine my other duties with football, but my dream has always been this and I was always with a ball at my feet.
What are your hobbies?
Usually, when I have some free time, I prefer to rest. This season, I have many obligations and there is no much time left. When I can, I go out with Houhoumis who is my best friend, to have a cup of coffee or go to the movies to distract ourselves from the pressure and the stress a bit.
What would you like to say to the fans and supporters of Panathinaikos?
I will say what I have said many times before: We wish to thank the fans and supporters of Panathinaikos who are next to us and support us in both home and away matches. We will need their support and help because the club is going through a tough time both inside and outside the field. We need them by our side, to chant for our team and applaud us as much as possible.
Next match, you are playing home against PAOK. Is this a "final" or is it a simple match?
I do not know whether I could say this is a "final", however it is a crucial match, as was the previous one against Kerkyra. I believe that all matches until the completion of the first round are crucial. We need to win only, since we cannot afford to lose any more points. We will have to try hard because PAOK is a good team; therefore this will be a match where we will have to try really hard to win it given the situation at the moment.