Mircea Lucescu: Match ending was nail-biting
Press conference by Shakhtar head coach after playing Rapid.
- I'm happy that we have advanced to the Champions League group stage. But I am not satisfied with our performance in the second half, with the mistakes we made defensively, especially in the last seconds and the dying minutes of the game. Perhaps there is some justification for that. Still, Kryvtsov received treatment for the most part of the last three months. His lack of confidence passed onto all defensive players, as he fouled a lot. Let's hope that by the next week he will get well prepared and rise to the level of the rest of players. We played against a good, organised and aggressive team. The opponents chose good tactics, did not give us the opportunity to make transitions from defence to attack and put us under pressure. Though it’s also true that trying to save the 2-2 score, we started backpassing it a lot to Andriy Pyatov, who, unfortunately, cleared it no farther than midfield. There, the ball was gathered by the opponents, and we had to win it again. I want to say that the ref still made a major error. When they were taking a free kick against us, two opposing players were behind the wall. How should they act in such cases? Should they have put more players behind those offside, or what? Darijo provoked them, and then just came out. Everything was fine, the referee should have registered the offside position. And then the second mistake: if you remember, in Vienna there was a moment when Stepanenko was blocking his marksman, the referee gave them the opportunity to finish the episode, then coming back to him and showing him a yellow card. Today, when Gladkyy was fouled upon, it was necessary to let Marlos, who bore down on goal, just finish it. Or, if he still interrupted the goal-scoring attack, he should have awarded a red card in that episode. The ref spoilt the scoring chance and thus helped the side who had broken the rules. I am very dissatisfied with the counterattacks we produced. We had a numerical advantage while attacking. Our players are technical, but, unfortunately, they failed to produce that killer pass. This led to the fact of the match ending being dramatic and nail-biting. I want to admit that in my entire football career, I’ve never had the kind of luck as they enjoyed in the dying seconds today. Surprisingly, Beric failed to head it home from six-metre range. And then there was a moment when Andriy palmed off the ball in front of him and Rapid players just hit the post. Pyatov must have been nervous in that episode which is inexcusable for his level. Overall it was a very tense match. I'm pleased with the result and congratulated the guys on their making it to the group stage. I think that there we will be more attentive and prepared. It's still a pity that yesterday Kucher broke down in training, Ordets was also injured and I had to field Kryvtsov, who had not played for three months.
- Mr. Lucescu, after the match in Vienna you said that you expected more from Gladkyy. Has he surpassed your expectations today? What do you make of his performance?
- It is very important that he’s scored today. There were a few moments when he won aerial challenges against his rivals. But I still expect more from him. There were more chances to score, so he must covert them. Of course, he’s played better than in Vienna.
- Mister, I would like to congratulate you on advancing to the Champions League group stage being frequented by Shakhtar since 2010. What can the fans expect this season in European competitions? What goals have the team been tasked with?
- Unfortunately, the Champions League goals don’t depend just on us. We still have around us the situation which does not always help us, in the league as well. We are the team who continuously play away, without their stadium and their fans. Both in Vienna and today there were errors. Even Collina admitted that there was a penalty case in the league game, while there were three... So that must imply something. Unfortunately, football is played not only on the field but also in the offices. Perhaps there is someone’s great interest in that. But we will go further! The fans should be confident that we will try to play very well in the group stage, and they will appreciate our performance then.