Wanted to share my experience with La Pavoni Professional, used here for over year now - this one is with larger boiler and pressure meter, otherwise similar to Europiccola. It is true, that for good shot initial limited meeting of coffee with hot water does good. That way you have coffee warmed and ready for steady main shot, that is going to extract the juice, you are after. If you expect to have first full pull to do thing, it will not work that way, since initial meeting of coffee and water will waste part of time from the shot to heat coffee into ready state, where you'll get only by ending shot. While subsequent time to proceed with remaining additional action will end in coffee heated beyond desired point. Certainly, desired amount of coffee and proper grind (for me good grinder setting can differ for particular beans, too), plus tampering should all balance into such extractable unit, that would provide right mix of brew strength, correct resistance to pressure, while given exposure to certain amount of passing water. Lever resistance is one of things to be felt while judging success of shot made. You have it resisting, but still getting trough via applied effort.
I am sceptical about broken puck stuff, read here, though - essentially, unit is strong locked by PF, little place for any move is possible (disposed coffee is here always pressed solid, no break apart ever), and even if there would happened cracks, application of water under lever pressure over whole top surface of coffee portion would overweight theoretical possibility of water to drip trough crack or several). So, I ruled out any care about broken pucks quite early.
With my machine, it is known accumulated heat to be the bigger problem - you have to be careful when making subsequent shots (also, keeping at bay their timing), as things tend to stay way hotter, than on first processing. As suggested elsewhere, running cold water trough PF helps restore balance. Perhaps smaller boiler of Europiccola results in less suffering from that character. Otherwise, my beloved La Pavoni is making good partner and exactly controllable, I would dream any machine to be.