“Our defense hasn’t had energy and wasn’t focused” – Maccabi Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos ahead of ASVEL

Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts ASVEL Villeurbanne in Euroleague Gameday 11 action on Thursday night, 21:00 at Yad Eliyahu. The Yellow & Blue come into the contest with a 6-4 record after having lost their last 2 continental clashes while ASVEL is 5-5. The two squads last met in the 2004/05 campaign as Maccabi swept the pair of contests that season. Ahead of the game Coach Ioannis Sfairpoulos spoke to the gathered press about the teams current state, injuries and more:

“We have to play better defense as we’ve lost three games in a a row. With the help of the fans we want to pick up another victory.”

Busy schedule:
“We have a lot of games, 11 in November and 11 in December and less practices and it’s tough for the injured players to recover. I know we miss these players and we want to fight with the players we have. We have players that are missing but I believe in the players and the team.”

Dov Halickman Photography

Injury status of players:
“We don’t know how Tarik Black, Omri Casspi and Elijah Bryant who sprained his ankle at a practice. I’m not very optimistic that they will play and if they practice without pain we will use them. If they do feel pain I don’t want to risk a bigger injury. We don’t want to risk them and have them be out longer.”

More on the D:
“Our defense hasn’t had energy and wasn’t focused, sometimes when you miss a shot we didn’t go back in defense properly. I think we are a tough defending team and that’s where we gave to go back to.”

Registering Angelo Caloiaro:
“He offers us flexibility and fatigue, if we have less players there is mor fatigue, this is why we registered him and we know each other and we will see how he will respond. I think he can give us good quality minutes in his position.”

Dov Halickman Photography

Relationship between Omri Casspi and Deni Avdija:
“I think they are really connected not just because of NBA but also the Israeli League. He can advise Deni as well as other players. Omri is known by everyone both the Israelis and Americans as he has the respect and presence in our team.”

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