Mircea Lucescu: We expect a completely different game
On the eve of the second leg with Fenerbahce the Pitmen’s head coach has answered journalists’ questions.
- Will Fred play in tomorrow's match?
- Tomorrow will be a match between Shakhtar and Fenerbahce, and I am interested in only the questions regarding the game. As for Fred, this issue is examined meticulously and professionally by respective bodies. I have not decided who will be fielded tomorrow in the starting line-up. We will hold a training session today, and only after it I will make a decision concerning the math squad. If you have questions regarding the upcoming game, please ask.
- Does a draw in the first game make Shakhtar favourites in tomorrow's match-up?
- It will be a match between two strong teams with top footballers. It is the most important match in this round of the qualifying stage. I am sure that neither Fenerbahce, nor Shakhtar wanted to face each other, because these sides are two very strong teams playing in the qualifying round. In Istanbul, there was a very good match between two strong opponents. Naturally, it is a pity that nobody scored in that game. I am confident that tomorrow we will witness a spectacular game. In addition to the ambitions of teams that want to win, both sides have ambitious players who have proved themselves in Europe. They want to play at the group stage too. I guess I've never seen Fenerbahce as strong as they are now, if we take into account all the names, all the players who are now part of the Turkish club. But let's not forget that Shakhtar are a very strong club too. We will build on our organisation of the game, the talent of our players, their individual actions. We will face good individual qualities of the opposition players.
- How important is it for you to guide the team to the Champions League group stage, given that you play almost all the games on the road?
- Playing in the Champions League group stage is probably the most important task for every coach. We had a very difficult year, we played all the matches either on the road, or on a neutral field. Unlike our competitors, who played at home. We lost very important points, and it did not allow us to reach the group stage of the Champions League as it has usually been the case in recent years. We will fight hard to get to where we have to be. There's our place.
- It is important for you not to concede goals tomorrow. Whom do you count on in terms of scoring goals? Have you practiced penalty kicks?
- Let's see how the game will develop. Neither Shakhtar, nor Fenerbahce will change much compared to the first match. The match in Istanbul took place only a week ago. Most likely, the same players will be deployed. Let's see what will happen in the end.
- In the first match, you often used long balls. Perhaps Fenerbahce could learn Shakhtar’s game in more details. Will you change your tactics, especially in the attack?
- We are expecting a completely different game, as we already know the result of the first match. Naturally, both teams, probably, will change their tactics in some way. Hopefully, long balls that we sometimes employed too much won’t be necessary.
- Former players of Shakhtar have said that in European competitions you have not practised penalty shootouts. Have you already had such a session or are you still sticking to that tradition?
- The issue of penalty shootouts is quite delicate. In the Cup final against Dynamo, as you remember, we scored three goals and were 3-1 up in the penalty shootout. Everyone thought that it was over. Then came the turn of our three players –Taison, Rakytskyy and Hladkyi - who are known for taking penalty kicks in a powerful manner. All three of them failed to score. At the same time, Dragovic and Khacheridi scored for Dynamo – defenders who are surely not the best in this component. Therefore, a penalty shootout is more a matter of luck than training. You can work on taking spot kicks even the whole week, but during the game conditions are quite different compared to the training process.
- Mr. Lucescu, a lot of Turkish fans, who will be rooting for Fenerbahce, arrived to attend this game. How important do you consider the support of Arena Lviv?
- Definitely, no matter how the Lviv fans will support, they will never rise to the level of support as in Turkey, no matter whether we’re talking about the fans of Fenerbahce, Besiktas or Galatasaray. It is a culture, which has been developed over many years. One cannot build the culture of support within a short period of time. We are looking forward to energetic support from fans tomorrow. We will try not to let them down.
- Will Fred play tomorrow?
- I have already answered this question. If there are more questions regarding the match, please ask. But I'm not going to name the players, who will be fielded tomorrow.
- Why has Fred not played in the last game against Hoverla? Does it have to do with the upcoming game with Fenerbahce?
- If you noticed, I made seven changes for the league game, as I usually do. I have 25 players. That's why I made seven changes compared to the match, which we played in Istanbul. I always do that before and after the Champions League games.
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