Mircea Lucescu: PSG are stronger than Real Madrid

Press conference by Shakhtar head coach after the game in Paris.

- Today was a spectacular match. I saw the reaction of the fans: they were really enthusiastic about it. Talking about the developments on the field, of course, we did not deserve to lose. We produced a good performance, were organized, creating chances. However, individual class of PSG footballers played its role in the goals against us. Ibrahimovic and Lucas used the chances they had created. We played against a good team. I believe that PSG currently belong to Europe’s top four clubs along with Real Madrid, Bayern and Barcelona. I am delighted at the quality of football we have showcased. Of course, the draw wasn’t helpful to us – we got two magnificently great clubs in the group. Both here and in Lviv, as well as against Real Madrid, we turned in a good performance – I'm happy with that.

- You have played twice against PSG and Real Madrid. Can you compare the two teams?
- I really liked PSG. They are very pragmatic in the play. In all matches, the Parisians were well-organised defensively, the players took advantage of their best qualities, they made quick transitions from defence to attack, creating chances and converting them. As for Real Madrid, they might have counted more on individual skill. I think PSG are stronger for the moment.

- Did the players know the score of the match in Madrid at half-time?
- They asked about the scoreline at the end of our game. But maybe they knew it. The players get information from each other. And in the dying minutes of the match they were very complacent, giving PSG the possibility to launch some blistering attacking moves. Especially Rakits’kyy got slack. He made stupid mistakes. That’s due to lack of concentration and superficial football - they have led to errors. Though previously, Yaroslav played very well. We had the opportunity to score, but failed to do so. Now we are going to play in the Europa League. I think it can be compared to the Champions League. Just look at the clubs featured there in the spring, Manchester United, Arsenal might make it there, maybe, Bayer, Roma, Seville, Porto or Chelsea. That’s a big competition, just like the Champions League. Therefore, it is difficult to predict anything. It is necessary to prepare for every match and be very careful.

- Can you repeat your success and win the Europa League?
- No, back then, when we won it, we were at a different level and played better. Do not forget that we’ve been in a tricky situation. It is difficult to hold matches, when some 500-1,000 people fill the stands. We also do not play at our home stadium, don’t forget it. We have a difficult situation. This year, we’ve had 112 flights! That’s very tough. That’s exactly why I am happy that despite the conditions we are in, we have saved face and we demonstrate some bright football.

- How would you evaluate Lucas’ performance?
- I know him well. A few years ago, we wanted to buy him. He shows great progress. Now he is a completely different player. All Brazilians need two or three years to adapt. We also expect them to be able to develop, to grow professionally, to be able and willing to work for the team. They need time. When David Luiz played for Benfica, he also made numerous errors. Now he has grown a lot. One has to have patience in the case of Brazilians. And, of course, they should be developed and trained so that they can play in the European football, so that they leave the level of instincts and approach a more professional level. The problem is to get away from improvisation, which they are very strong at, towards creativity. Those are completely different things. Lucas played well today.

- You have given a chance to Anton Kanibolotskyi today. Does he have a problem using his feet or that’s just due to excitement?
- All Ukrainian goalkeepers have issues with using their feet. Pyatov, Kanibolotskyi, Sarnavskyi – just all goalies, you know. I can understand Anton, as it was his second Champions League appearance. He is just 27, he joined us late. Naturally, he had a load of responsibility on his shoulders. Of course, we need to understand whether he is ready for playing at this level.

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