John Pantsil says Fulham will go in search of goals in their Europa League play-off first leg against Amkar Perm tomorrow night in a bid to build a healthy advantage to avoid coming unstuck on Perm’s plastic pitch.
The Ghana defender is fully aware of how England’s slip-up on plastic in Moscow ultimately cost them a place at Euro 2008 two years ago and that the surface was also responsible for sidelining Chelsea’s John Terry. But Pantsil is confident that Fulham can take a good lead to the Zvedza Stadium for the second leg.
It will be a difficult pitch, so we have to beat them well at home. We need more goals here. I’ve never played on a synthetic pitch, but have trained on one.
We will train on one beforehand. You can still run and go for slide tackles, but it will affect your knees.
Pantsil admits that he hadn’t had of Perm before they were pulled out of the draw as Fulham’s opponents but says he wants to make the group stages of the revamped competition where the Whites could face some of Europe’s biggest names. It would bring back memories of the Champions’ League for Pantsil, who played in Europe’s premier club tournament when he was with Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv.
I played in the Champions League with Maccabi Tel Aviv. We were in the group stages against Bayern Munich, Ajax and Juventus. It was one of the highlights of my career, and I played against great players like Pavel Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero and Michael Ballack.