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Dusan Bajevic makes big plans for old love AEK

Now back with his old love AEK, where he established himself as the country’s most successful and respected coach over the past 15 years, Dusan Bajevic hinted yesterday that the return could turn out to be his career’s last move, while he also aims to set high performance standards for the new season. At his first news conference since rejoining AEK two weeks ago, the tight-lipped Serb-Greek coach – who led the team to a series of league titles after serving as a player in the late 1970s, but upset fans when he transferred to the bigger and richer Olympiakos for more glory – said that keeping the reasons for his departure undisclosed may have been wrong. «Maybe I made a mistake in not talking more about my departure, and the people wanted to know,» Bajevic said. «All these years, when coming back here as an opponent, I’ve been on the receiving end of many questions, and much discussion. If I’ve hurt and upset some people, I apologize. But only to them, not others who went overboard.» Bajevic was referring to AEK fans who repeatedly called him a traitor. «Let me keep my feelings about the reactions to myself. Somebody else in my position, perhaps, may never have returned,» Bajevic said, while thanking club fans and officials for their support through the awkward past few days. «I’m not a traitor. I truly want to make an effort for us all to achieve what we achieved in the past.» After retiring as a player for AEK, Bajevic, as coach, led the team to four domestic titles between 1988 and 1994 before transferring to Olympiakos under rather shadowy circumstances to repeat the recipe and cook up three consecutive titles between 1997 and 1999. He has spent the past two seasons with PAOK, leading the Thessaloniki club to last year’s Greek Cup and fourth place in this season’s league. Bajevic said that he intends to inject two new defenders into the team, which narrowly missed winning this season’s league title. He did not elaborate who these new signings could be.