Maccabi Tel Aviv continued their preparations for Saturday's away match at 5.50pm against Hapoel Acre with a morning training at the Kiryat Shalom training ground. Before the practice started the club held their weekly press conference with head coach Paulo Sousa and defender Eitan Tibi.

Sousa made reference to Maccabi's northern rivals and said: "I know the side well, they've brought in a lot of new players and there's a chance they may bring in one or two more before Saturday's match. We respect them but we're more focused here at Maccabi because we want to start out the season with a win". Regarding Maccabi's advancement to the group stages of the Europa League Sousa he said: "There are no free passes in football, we have to compete and win. We've scored seven goals in four European matches and we've had plenty of opportunity to prepare for our league matches against good sides. Now our focus is on the league".

As for the state of the squad in the run up to the league opener he added: "The team are in fine shape, all the players are fit at the moment and that presents me with some difficult choices in the competition for places in the starting eleven, everyone is very keen to get on with it. All the players in the squad must be mentally focused on winning and giving it their all". As for the club's new status as "reigning champions" he added: "It was no mean feat to win the championship after ten years but now it will be even more difficult to retain it. Our goal is to have a squad that is strong enough to compete for the title. We need a squad that will enable us to challenge in all competitions".

Maccabi defender Eitan Tibi also talked about the opening of the new season: "Preparing for the league is different than preparing for Europe, we'll be getting ready for every match to win and play well. It's very exciting for me at the start of every new season, and I believe it's the same for all the players. This season we'll be out to maintain the momentum of what we achieved last season and we have to make a good start at (Hapoel) Acre, that's more important than thinking about the championship".

Regarding his own abilities and the Maccabi defence in general he added: "Defending means playing all over the pitch, also in attack, we'll be aiming to concede as few goals as possible. I still have a lot to improve in my game and a lot to learn, I want to improve those things I'm less good at and get even better at the things I do well."