Mircea Lucescu: It will be a very tough game against Dnipro

At the open training session dedicated to the game vs Dnipro, the Pitmen’s mentor answered the questions from the media.

- Are there any personnel issues in the team before this meeting?
- The players have no major problems in terms of health. He who is better prepared before tomorrow’s game, will, of course, be fielded in the starting line-up. There are some minor problems, but upon our arrival to Odesa, we will decide on the performers.

- Mister, you probably know that your opponents, Dnipro, have been experiencing some problems in the team: the coach wants to leave, the players ...
- I’ve just talked on the subject with my players. I would not want them to listen to what is being said about the situation at Dnipro. They are professionals and they know that when the players go out onto the pitch, they give their all. And it does not depend on whether they received a bonus, whether there is a salary delay or any other negative aspects. That’s a real derby. For sure there will be a very tough game at both ends. Regardless of the standings of Shakhtar and Dnipro, this is a very important match for the region. Tomorrow will be no exception.

- The match will take place in Odesa. This is something new for you - choosing a neutral ground ...
- After our last match in Lviv, I had a conversation with the groundsmen. I was not very happy with the pitch: too much sand, it was very easily torn. Therefore, we made this decision in order not to completely ruin the turf, not to damage it. In a conversation with the club staff, I asked them to find another field due to the fact that Arena Lviv will be still used by us, including in the Champions League, and by the national team. It has nothing to do with the fans. I'm sure they will be preparing to support us in the Champions League - in the game against Rapid. Plus I think that in general  there will be a much larger audience in the stadium in Odesa than we had in Lviv.

- Drawing with Vorskla – does it give you extra motivation for the upcoming match? Or you consider the meeting with Dnipro separately?
- Again, we lost points in the match, where we had to claim a very big result in our favour. We played well, on a heavy pitch, but made mistakes, especially in the closing stages of the first and second halves. The most interesting thing is this: the experienced players made those mistakes, which is unacceptable. Currently, the Ukrainian league season is so short that any loss of points can then affect the standings. This is a mini-championship. I can see that their intentions are more and more like this. There is little competition, and there is no competitive edge, which should be present in a normal league. Dynamo and Shakhtar, in my opinion, can lose points in such circumstances only by chance. The outcome depends more on the head-to-head games. That’s not enough for a country like Ukraine, where they want to see as many teams taking part in European competitions as possible. I insist and continue to say that the league system should be changed so that the matches put on greater importance, being conducted in full stadiums with the fans looking forward to those games. This is being said by us - those who hardly play in front of their home audience!

Let us remind you that Shakhtar vs Dnipro game will be held at Chornomorets stadium in Odesa at 19:00 on August 14Tickets for the game are on sale.