Mircea Lucescu: Result is often dependent on concentration rather than skill-set

Shakhtar’s head coach has granted a press conference before the match in Vienna.

- Mr. Lucescu, you have said that Shakhtar should be prepared for a game against Rapid, as if your team face Barcelona. What are the strengths of the Austrian team, in your opinion?
- All matches of the Champions League are incredibly intensive. A result is often determined by the one who is better focused rather than a higher level of skill-set. Plus, if the team beat a club like Ajax, who have a great experience of playing in the Champions League, probably, this team also have the makings of beating other strong teams. As for the organisation of their game, I’d rather not talk about it here. This team score constantly, almost in every game, but they also concede goals.

- You have trained Rapid, but that of Bucharest. Maybe these teams have a certain spirit? This season, Rapid Vienna have not lost a single match, battling back from 2-0 in the match with Ajax...
- Yes, I have coached Rapid Bucharest. I know the morale of these teams very well. In all countries, Rapid are very popular. At the same time, these teams are supported by a large number of fans! Rapid’s game is characterised by total commitment on the field. Perhaps this is what the fans demand too - constant movement, fight in every episode, for every ball and achieve positive results. It will be definitely a tough match, I know about it. I respect Rapid and the players. But Shakhtar have to win in this game.

- Taison and Marlos have repeatedly beat the Austrian clubs, namely Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid. Are not you afraid that they may underestimate the opponents tomorrow?
- They have faced Austrian teams only once. I cannot say that today's Rapid are the same as they were a few years ago. Now they are a young team with big ambitions. They are organised very well, aggressive regarding all factors. Their actions feature a lot of attacking combinations, they are very dangerous. I am not surprised that this club are topping the league table. They have started the season very well, achieving positive results.

- The last two matches have seen Shakhtar playing in a not very confident manner in the closing stages. Therefore, are you concerned about the team’s overall readiness?
- This is a problem of concentration. In particular, it concerns our experienced players. In the game with Vorskla there was a moment when we could extend our lead. The game with Dnipro have seen three clear penalties that should have been awarded. When Luchkevich pushed Gladkyy into the back. I could also mention episodes with Ferreyra, Teixeira. Much depends on a referee and how he interprets episodes. Refereeing mistakes will not be in our favour in the games against our archrivals! Shakhtar are still a strong team, but we have to put up with such unpleasant facts. Watching the league games, I think that someone does not want Shakhtar to keep on winning. It is very difficult for me to criticise our players, when such things happen in the closing stages of the game, and it occurs from game to game! I do not want to talk about it here; we are in another country, which does not have much to do with that.

- Mr. Lucescu, have you drawn conclusions after the defeat at the hands of Dnipro and will it be reflected in tomorrow's starting line-up?
- You will see it all on the pitch tomorrow.

- You have once played against Salzburg, who were coached by Trapattoni, and you won. Could you compare Salzburg and modern-day Rapid?
- I'll make a comparison only after our two games against Rapid. As for Salzburg, I can speak about it based on the games that have already been played: at the time when we played Salzburg, they were a very strong team, the best club in Austria, who were led by two great coaches - Trapattoni and Matthäus.

- After the match with Fenerbahce, there were a lot of good comments about Ivan Ordets. Now you have to cope without him. Is it a great loss?
- His recent form has been good. It is a pity that Ivan got injured after we had already made all the substitutions, and he had to play until the end of the game. Maybe we conceded a goal at the end of the match because Ordets was injured and we could not replace him. Most likely, he will return to full training after two or three weeks. But it is important that Kucher has recovered. I'm sure he will help and this rotation won’t be visible.
 

 

 

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