Mircea Lucescu: Every year Shakhtar score more than anyone

Before the start of the new season the head coach has granted an exclusive interview to Globo, Brazil. We bring you the full version.

- Mr Lucescu, are there going to be any changes in Shakhtar’s style of play after the departure of Brazilian players?
- No, I do not think so. We will play in the same attacking style. Our organisation of the game involves constant attacks. Each year, we score more than the rest of the teams! Now we have a much more technically strong squad. Also, let’s not forget that a lot of Brazilian players have left Shakhtar. First it was Matuzalem, Elano, Brandao, Jadson... But we remained the same team because they were replaced by Ilsinho, Willian, Fernandinho. After the latter ones left, nothing changed because they were replaced by players with similar characteristics. Therefore, we remain the same team and respect our philosophy! Shakhtar’s style requires a lot of discipline and excellent physical fitness. It should be noted that almost all Brazilians, who joined the team, initially did not possess those qualities. They had to adapt to our style, to my way of working. Perhaps, besides Matuzalem, who moved here from the Italian club, so he blended into the squad almost immediately. It tends to take time for young players. Professional preparation is a matter of discipline, proper attitude to training and so on. Step by step, the Brazilians have come to understand all of those things to become decorated players... At the moment, Marlos is playing very well in the position of Douglas Costa. It is difficult to find a replacement for Luiz Adriano, so we asked Eduardo to return. It will help maintain the team’s combinational style of play.

- How are you planning to deploy young players who have joined the team in the pre-season?
- Considering the current situation in Ukraine, we have focused on replacing the Brazilian players, who have left, with youngsters from our Academy. Last season, they managed to achieve success and put on a decent performance against Chelsea in the final of the Youth League. They must now maintain this level, as well as improve their skill-set and the level of preparedness. But we still keep a balance between the Brazilian and Ukrainian players because among Brazilians there are young guys too – Bernard, Wellington, Fred.

- Can Alex Teixeira and Bernard become leaders of Shakhtar?
- They look very good. Especially Teixeira, because he has great experience of playing for our team in the European competitions. As for Bernard, it soon will be his third year in our team. I want to see him as a leader in terms of technique. But it is not easy, because he has to compete with Taison, who is also a very skilful footballer, who plays in the same position. Of course, I will give playing practice to both of them. Not only Bernard and Taison, but also Marlos. I also expect more initiative from Fred - he's a talented, but still a very young player. It takes time to understand my demands. Fred still needs to learn in order to improve his level. As for Bernard, during these two years, I have been watching very patiently how he is improving and adapting. When he arrived, he probably thought that in a year he would leave the club... Because of that, he has had problems with discipline, and his physical condition is not fully in line with European standards. But now, I expect more from him, because he is a very talented football player and his professional level is rising. He has become much more responsible in terms of his approach to work, he feels a great responsibility regarding the club and teammates, he already understands what is required of him. Bernard has also appreciated how much the club has done for him, and hopefully he will want to give Shakhtar its due. I want him to become a leader on the pitch and be useful to the team.