Oleksandr Gladkyy: We will try to show everything we are capable of

Before the second leg against Rapid, Austria, Shakhtar forward answered questions from the media.

Oleksandr, to begin with I would like to greet you on your birthday. I wish you all the best! The question is as follows: to reach the group stage you have to make not one step, but just a half step. Doesn’t this closeness to reaching the target put the team under pressure psychologically?
- No, there is no pressure. We are well aware that tomorrow we will have a very difficult match. The team are preparing for it seriously and will make every effort to fulfil the task facing us.

- Can you remember how you normally played on your birthday? Was it a positive experience or the games proved unsuccessful?
- To be honest, I can’t remember a single game on my birthday! So I find it hard to answer this question.

- Rapid are a very strong team physically, and it was not easy for you to deal with the defenders in the first leg. Do you expect that this time the opponents will play more aggressively, more openly, making it easier for you, the attacker, to play on the pitch tomorrow?
- Indeed, Rapid are a very good team: well prepared physically and with great teamwork. In the first match the Austrians showed good football. We need to analyse the opponents’ performance one more time. I think Rapid will attack more, while we should take advantage of that.

- How important is tomorrow’s game for your career?
- I do not think this only applies to me personally. The game is important for our whole team, and there is no room for personal goals and ambitions here! Tomorrow we are facing a tough game, we will try to show everything we are capable of.

- Dynamo Kyiv defender Dragovic admitted that before the first game he had given Rapid pieces of advice as to how to play against Shakhtar. Counteracting the defenders, did you feel it in Vienna?
- I would not say that the opponents have learnt a lot about our game. Of course, the Austrians analysed our matches themselves, but they didn’t surprise us though. Mister pointed out Rapid’s weaknesses, and we saw them on the field. It was a good match, but tomorrow it will be even more difficult, so we need to approach the second meeting being ahead of the game.

- How did the team and the head coach greeted you on your birthday?
- Early in the morning my teammates and coaches wished me a happy birthday. Everything was the usual way: we gathered together, Mister  wished me sound health and good luck, the team did the same. So we continue to prepare for the match!

Let us remind you that Shakhtar vs Rapid match kicks off in Lviv at 21:45 on August 25. Tickets for the game are on sale now.