U21. Shakhtar vs Oleksandriya: players’ comments

Shakhtar U21 players have reflected on the win over Oleskandriya.

Yuriy Senitskiy, Shakhtar U21 midfielder:

- An opening game is always difficult, and this match was no exception either. Oleksandr presented us with a ‘gift’ - we were expecting a very different performance from this team and had no idea who would take to the pitch for them. We did not even have a theory session before the game. I think we played well, we are satisfied with the result, we have taken all three points. Yes, this is a narrow win, but it definitely adds positive emotions ahead if future matches.

Igor Kiryukhantsev, Shakhtar U21 defender:

- It turned out to be a hard fought win. By and large, we have a new team, we still need to gel together. Physically, too, it was not easy. Perhaps the heat prevented us from showing our best qualities. The opponents have shown a great desire. To be honest, we did not expect it to be easy. Certainly, the presence of the first-team players has helped us win - they were all leaders in their respective lines. I could learn from Ismaily, who played on the left side. He played well, joining the attacks, and I was instructed by head coach Miguel Cardoso to stay behind with the central defenders during those episdoes. And the opponents played very tight: they did leave free zones.

Oleksandr Pikhalyonok, Shakhtar U21 midfielder:

- This was my debut game for the reserve team! It was nice to take to the field, the coach encouraged before that. Oleksandriya left a very good impression, they created chances, and before the game the opponents were considered as a dark horse for us. From the bench it is possible to analyse the game and understand what is missing in certain moments, so that later, as a substitute, one can help the team. The coach gave the task to operate deeper in the defensive midfielder role, moving from flank to flank. No, we did not even think to hold on to a narrow win, on the contrary, we wanted to extend our lead. The Knyazha Arena stadium is new for us, there were people supporting us in the stands. We were getting used to Poltava at the time, and we will get used to Shchaslyve - the atmosphere here is really nice.