Rimas Kaukenas was interviewed by the Greek sports newspaper "SportDay", hours before Real Madrid-Panathinaikos game and talked about many things including Real Madrid, Messina and Lithuania NT.
Why did you choose Real Madrid?
"First of all because of coach Messina. Other reasons were the club's glorious history while I was excited about the whole new project of Real Madrid. Also new experiences and new motives was a reason. In generally I see this as a way to get better."
After Real Madrid's impressive moves in the summer transfer market your team is now seen as a new favourite. People obviously expect great things from your team, but what do you expect from your team?
"What interests us the most for now is to become a great team. We need time to gel together. That is a challenge for us. When we achieve this target then we will fight for all the titles."
How easy is it to perform when the entire Europe has their eyes set on you, while time keeps running. Why do everyone expect immediate results?
"We know that we are already out of time, because we need to win in every single game. But we are a new team and we will only get better by time. As for the pressure, it exists in all teams for various reasons."
Talking about pressure, how much has it increased after the loss of the Spanish SuperCup against Barcelona?
"After that game we had a long conversation because we were really disappointed. We wanted that title a lot. We decided to just keep the positive things of that game, although there were not too many of them. We were bad at defense but we could have won nevertheless. We need to improve in the defensive end and injuries of important players like Reyes and Van den Spiegel do not help much. In conclusion, every experience can help you to improve. As long as you learn from it, even if its a title loss.
You obviously aim for all the trophies. What are the steps that are neccessary to be taken in order to achieve this?
"We must take it step by step, day by day. That is the most important thing. To concentrate our efforts upon the future. We must be strong and optimistic and follow our style of game, our philosophy."
Which teams in your opinion stand above the rest in Europe and especially in your group?
"Panathinaikos, of course. They are a great team, one of the best in Euroleague. I don't see any other team standing out, especially in our group. It is very difficult to beat any team in Euroleague, especially on the road. You must believe in yourself and at the same time respect your opponent."
You met Panathinaikos last year too as a Montepaschi Siena player…
"Panathinaikos is a unique team. They have two great players in each position and they play the pick n roll excellently. They like to control the game and take advantage of your weaknesses. They get more dangerous in close games."
Well, before we thank you for the interview, we would like to know your thoughts about Lithuania NT. You had a lot of absences in the last Eurobasket and you will be hosting the 2011 Eurobasket.
"We will set our targets when we know the final roster of the team. First of all I hope that my country gets a wild card for the World Championship in Turkey. That would be fantastic. And then we must all try to make Lithuania one of the faovurite teams for a medal."
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