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New Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Oded Katash said Monday that the perennial Israel champion will need to play better than the sum of its parts if it's to reach the Euroleague Final Four.
"The most important thing is that we create a good chemistry between the players," Katash said at Maccabi's season opening press conference in Tel Aviv. "We have players of a very high quality and I hope that in a few months we will be able to say that we managed to build a team with them. We will need to make one and one add up to more then two."
Maccabi, which leaves for New York on Tuesday to play the Knicks on Thursday, officially opens its season on October 25 against Le Mans in the Euroleague.
Despite its big budget by Israeli standards, Maccabi spends far less than many opponents in Europe's premier competition. Co-owner David Federman admitted on Monday that the club had no intention of competing with the big money spent by the Greek, Russian and Spanish teams.
"There are at least six Euroleague sides with budgets that are two or even three times bigger than Maccabi's," Federman said. "We have kept a balanced budget in the last few seasons and we intend to continue doing so. We could in theory compete with the big budgets put up by the European clubs, but we believe that at the very worst a business should spend no more than its income."
Katash said the new financial reality in European basketball required the team to prepare differently for the coming season. "We built the squad early in the off-season and I think that this is a necessity these days due to the amounts the Greek, Russian and Spanish clubs are offering players. It was critical to complete our squad quickly because if we would have waited we would have missed out on the quality players we signed."
The decision to appoint Katash as coach shocked many because of his limited experience on the sidelines (three season with Hapoel Galil Elyon). The former Maccabi star, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on Wednesday, said, however, that he had settled in at his new position very quickly and that his sights were already firmly set on the club's success.
"The new position came to me very naturally. Everybody knows of my connection to this club and how much I love and respect it. I'm glad some of the stars of those dynasties are still with the club and I hope that together with the new players we brought in we can start a new dynasty."