Bernard: I feel more mature

Shakhtar’s midfielder has granted an interview to the official website.

- Bernard, what’s it like to switch over from a difficult match in the European competitions to the game with a team from the bottom of the Ukrainian league table?
- Motivation should be the same as in the Champions League. Our results in the championship at the end of the season will show whether we can get into this tournament! We have to show our best qualities against all the opponents.

- In the last match, Shakhtar got a big win over Metalurh, but scored all four goals in the second half...
- Yes, and now we are expecting a difficult match too. We must have patience, Shakhtar have long got accustomed to the fact that almost all the opponents play tight and in a very cohesive manner.

- Metalurh’s coach Anatoliy Chantsev often criticises his team for their attacking actions. Can Metalurh count on the counterattacks?
- Most likely, they will. The opponents cannot sit in defence for the full 90 minutes, though they will play defensive football. The game will not be easy, but we will make every effort to win. We cannot be complacent; we must be fully focused. Our main goal is to win every game.

- What psychological state are the team in? On Tuesday, it was a very nervous night. Is there a feeling of emptiness?
- No. There is a sense of accomplishment. Yes, it was difficult to make it to the Champions League group stage, but we succeeded. Of course, we are happy, but we should not devote a lot of time to fun because the draw is on Thursday, and it will be even harder.

- What opponents would you like? Call at least one team.
- It is hard to choose...

- Then name a few.
- You know, when I played in the Copa Libertadores, I was often asked about which team I would like to see as opponents. I would name some team, and then when we were drawn against them, we would always suffer bad luck; we would lose. I no longer name the opponents I would like to face! We know that in the group it will be more difficult than in the qualifying stages, that's for sure. You must be adjust to the rhythm of this level.

- After a fairly long period, when you had rarely taken to the pitch, Mircea Lucescu is now heavily deploying you in games. Does this mean that you are playing better now, understanding Shakhtar’s style of play?
- Eventually, I have adapted. When every day you see how what happens, you know what your team-mates, Mister want from you. What Shakhtar want. I am happy that I have started taking to the pitch, and I hope that in the future I will feature in the first team more often, because I'm ready to show my football.

- Do you remember how you envisaged Shakhtar’s game when you joined the club? Could you compare it with the current form? Has it become different?
- I will say this: I have learned a lot at Shakhtar. No wonder the sages say, "Live and learn." During my period at Shakhtar I have learned a lot about football and, most importantly, understood what is expected of me! Every day I improve. This applies not only to football. We learn by doing good and bad things. I feel more mature since joining Shakhtar.

We want to remind you that Shakhtar vs Metalurh match will be held in Lviv at 19:00 on August 28. Tickets for the game are on sale now