Zico upbeat ahead of Standard clash

Olympiakos coach Zico says he’s upbeat about his team’s chances against Standard Liege in the Champions League on Tuesday, despite having several injury worries.

The Greeks are looking for a second home win in Group H after beating AZ Alkmaar 1-0. They later lost 2-0 at Arsenal.

Zico was buoyed by his team’s 3-0 victory over Astera Tripoli in the Greek league on Saturday, though an injury Brazilian striker Diogo in that match means he is set to miss Tuesday’s game.

“We’ve worked hard over the last couple of weeks and shown real improvement … This is the kind of game we need to play against Liege,” the Brazilian coach said.”We are always positive going into the big games. We’ll play for a good result.”

Diogo’s absence has been offset by the return from injury of Argentine winger Luciano Galletti. But influential defender Vassilis Torosidis – who scored against Alkmaar – is still recovering from a virus infection and is also a doubtful starter.

On Saturday, Zico rested several players who played in Greece’s World Cup qualifiers against Latvia and Luxemburg.

Zico said Standard would be a tough opponent, particularly after the way the Belgian side took an early 2-0 lead against Arsenal before eventually going on to lose 3-2.

“We’ve have to be very careful with them. They were great against Arsenal,” he said. “The home games for us are very important, because if you win all three, there’s an 80 percent chance that you’ll progress.”

Standard manager Laszlo Boloni, who said he expected his side to play on the counterattack, was keen to cast the Belgian team as the underdog.

“I’ve never been good at math. But I think Arsenal’s chances of qualification are 100 percent,” he said. “Olympiakos has 60 percent, while the other two teams probably have about half those odds.”