Taras Stepanenko: Counterattacks will play a big role in match against PSG
Shakhtar midfielder reflects on the upcoming match against the French side.
- Taras, at the Svyatoshyno base you were training separately from the general group. Do you have any health issues?
- There are some. I just have a minor injury, so I took a break. But nothing serious.
- PSG have been in excellent form, beating Nice 3-0 in their last game. How will you act against the French?
- Mister has been conducting theory sessions, explaining and showing us the way PSG play as well as the way we should play against them. Clearly, it will be difficult. But this is the last match this year, and we should play it decently, psych ourselves up for it, even despite the fact that we will have holidays after this match.
- How does the fact that there will be no Ukrainian fans in France, affect it?
- That’s a safety issue. Clearly, we would like our fans to be present at this match - they always help us. But, given the current situation in France, it's even better like that. Because the safety of people, their lives are paramount.
- Are you afraid of having arrived in Paris?
- No, I’m not. They have tightened security here, I think they will check everything very carefully. So no issues should arise.
- How do you plan to stop Ibrahimovic, the Swedish goal machine?
- Everyone wants to stop him, not everyone succeeds though. But I hope we can do that. Ibrahimovic is a good player, a worldwide star. We will do our best to shut him down. We will see just on Tuesday whether we succeed or not.
- What do you need to do to play PSG in the same way as you did in the second half of your home match with them?
- It depends on the whole team: on the spirit and attitude. Most importantly, we must prevent what happened in that encounter: we conceded two early goals and then, of course, it was hard to play – we had a kind of mental shock. Hopefully, we will not repeat any silly mistakes of the past.
- You mastered counterattacks in training. Are you preparing to play like that in the match against PSG?
- In each session, Mister practises different options and formations. We often practise counterattacks as well. That’s our strength - we have some fast, skilled players. So the counterattacks will play a big role in this meeting.