Omonia Nicosia star Loizos Loizou has thanked Neil Lennon for helping him “wake up” and find his best form.
He scored the crucial second goal in the semi-final first leg and played all 120 minutes of the final, with Omonia winning on penalties.
Loizou finished the season with a flurry of goals but he reckons his impressive run wouldn’t have come about if it wasn’t for Lennon’s tough-love style of management.
The two clashed in the dressing room shortly after Lennon took the reins with the Northern Irishman calling him out on his work-rate and commitment.
And Loizou, who is in the Cyprus squad that will face Lennon’s native Northern Ireland in the Nations League on Sunday, has thanked his new manager for bringing out the best in him.
He said: “Mr Lennon helped me a lot. When he came to Omonia, I was not in my best shape. He helped me mentally and also my way of playing.
“After a match when I didn’t play well, in front of all the players in the dressing room, he told me some things that made me wake up and gave me a better future.
“The motivation is always very strong when representing your country and it’s very important for all the players.
“We want to play well and if that results in something good for me or my team-mates, that would be very welcome.”