Mircea Lucescu: Big wins require self-sacrifice

In the latest issue of Shakhtar e-magazine you will find an exclusive material by the Pitmen’s head coach. Mircea Lucescu, who tells the readers about the time he spends working with the team, about the relationship and requirements to the players, about scouting and much more. We bring you a small excerpt from it.

- For me it is important that when selecting the players, the main focus is on their character rather than their individual qualities as footballers. I try to instil into the team a playing style which is peculiar to me, to my character and philosophy – the offensive one! Here is an example: no one can hit a lion while the latter attacks them. The lion prepares his attack thoughtfully, carefully and cautiously. Meanwhile having the main goal - to catch them off guard! He provokes the opponent to open up, and then attacks. So I'm trying to convince the team that big wins require self-sacrifice. But what the players do should make them happy. I want the fans to be proud of their team, the players’ dedication and success. The players should understand this: the outcome is the result of some exhilarated attitude.

Players often think that they have already succeeded as individuals, just because they have talent. In actual fact, that is not so – the upbringing is crucial. That’s why it’s not that easy to grasp my philosophy straight away. There are players who quickly adapt and become the soul of the team. But too many people, unfortunately, need time to realize all this. And here very important is the patience of the coach who has two goals: to achieve results and ensure the player’s growth. This is very difficult. Rarely a mentor chooses this path. Many coaches rely primarily on the results and only occasionally allow young players to perform and express themselves.

Yes, I do give a good talking to my charges. But I defend them in front of everyone: fans, refs, the media and even the president. When people criticize the team, I try to take the brunt of it. But I voice my criticism and comments not individually, but always in public - in our meetings. This is my principle of praise and criticism ...

The full version of the article is available in our online publication. Shakhtar magazine is available for free download.