Serhiy Kovalyov: PSG’s motivation will be sky-high

Head coach of Shakhtar U19 reflects on the upcoming encounter with the French.

- Serhiy Mykolayovych, what is the game plan for this match?
- It is clear that we have no chance of reaching the knockout stage. But still, before every game we set only one goal - to win. Of course, not in all games we succeed, but meeting with such strong opponents, we want the boys to showcase quality football and achieve a positive result. It will be a kind of test for them. So on Tuesday we will give our all. We’ve told the guys that only in the matches against such strong opponents, they will grow as footballers.

- Aren’t you disappointed by the fact that the team have been rediscovering their top form, and now, when everyone’s in the right form, they have no chance of advancing to the knockout stages?
- Of course, that’s disappointing. But many boys have taken part in the Champions League for the first time - and they have certainly gained experience. And the upcoming match against PSG should show us where to go and what to strive for. We have a lot of work ahead – after these games we will try to analyse our mistakes and flaws in order to correct them during the winter break.

- As for PSG...
- For them, it will also be a very important match: the French need to claim the top spot in the group! Therefore, we expect the opponents’ motivation to be sky-high this Tuesday. So much more interesting will be this encounter for us.

- The French side feature some very tall, massive players. Will you somehow change your play compared to the last match?
- Of course, our guys are shorter and smaller, but there’s nothing wrong with that. We give each player the opportunity to prove themselves. Just once again we have reminded the boys that they will primarily fight for their name and for the team as a whole. As for tactics, basically, we won’t change it a great deal. We want to instil in the boys some attacking, spectacular football, the same as in the first team. Even Mister said in an interview that the audience likes this kind of football. We kind of concede many goals, but we still try to produce a spectacular performance. Yes, we have major issues defensively – we know those drawbacks. But I want to repeat it: we will work on them.

- Due to injuries, Shakhtar missed Boryachuk and Zubkov, who can appear this time. Does this mean that the game pattern will change?
- Well, they appeared in the match against Real Madrid. However, back then we gave some away due to individual errors, but the game was virtually even until the 70th minute... Now all our boys, except Arabidze, who got injured in training, are back to the ranks. Of course, we want to win this clash. We are well aware that it will be very difficult to do, given the level of the opponents, but we will do our best.