Rinat Akhmetov: We must reach Champions League last 8
FC Shakhtar President attended today’s open training session. The journalists asked Rinat Akhmetov various questions with most of them related to the upcoming games against Roma.
- Rinat Leonidovich, Shakhtar are about to play in the Champions League knockout stage for the first time. What do you feel?
- What do I feel? I feel that we will play in the Champions League Round of 16 with a very difficult game awaiting us. Everyone is a little concerned because it is already February 11 and we are all interested in what form the team are currently in. If you look at the Emirates training camp the impression is not very good. If you look at the Spanish training camp, then the situation is better. But I believe that on February 16 we will display the best qualities and show all that we are capable of.
- This tie will be some kind of premiere for Shakhtar...
- (Laughing). What does this mean? Premiere is when a singer performs new song.
- Group tournament differs from the cup matches. Do you agree with that? There can be a winner according to the overall results, but here every match is worth its weight in gold.
- Yes, but we participated in all these tournaments, the Pitmen have extensive experience in European competitions. When we won the UEFA Cup, it was exactly the same situation: the last 16, 8, semi-final and the final. But here we take part in the Champions League last 16 and I am very glad and happy that we have reached this stage. But most importantly, as I said after the game vs Braga, we are not going to stop here and enjoy current success we will endeavor to go further. Our target is to go through to the Champions League quarter-finals.
- So you are already looking into the future, aren’t you?
- We set a goal which is to reach the Champions League last 8. And if we do not achieve that it will be very bad.
- Will the overall performance on the pitch determine your "bad" or "good"?
- You are talking about the process while we are interested in the outcome. We must qualify for the Champions League Round of 8 and we want the quality of our team’s performance to be in line with this level.
- Roma are now for sale. Approximate price is around 150 million. Possibly all the problems concerning Round of 16 may be solved with the right money...
- What do you mean?
- To buy Roma.
- All my investments are made into the one and only club where my soul and heart is – it is football club Shakhtar. Our aim is to invest into the club which would bring joy to the fans, praise our region, our city and our country in the European arena.
- Rinat Leonidovich, Lucescu once said that you wanted to bring some new faces in but he dissuaded you from any transfers this winter. Who were these players?
- We, by and large, always think about strengthening our game, increasing competition within a squad. When we purchase a player we must be very careful because we need to evolve competition, which will make the team stronger. Sometimes you buy a football player, and this signing makes the team weaker. Here we must be careful. We made five transfers in summer; we bought the players last winter. Lucescu believes that we should develop the team which we have now. We have strength in depth with Mister trusting those players who are currently in the team. He said: These players have won a ticket to the Champions League last 16 and I want to give them an opportunity to show their top qualities in order to go further. I believe in the players.
- How would you rate the opponent?
- The rival is very strong with very good players. But we want to be even stronger and we will do everything to make it happen.
- Do you have any premonitions before the game?
- There are five days and five nights to come.
- How would you rate the chances?
- Tight game with us making it through.