Darijo Srna: I believe in my team!

The Pitmen’s captain has talked about the forthcoming Ukrainian Cup final

- Darijo, if we take into account not the best game, which Shakhtar have been showing in recent games, what are you expecting from the Cup encounter?
- It will be a difficult match-up. Dynamo are now being in a good shape, they have a good coach and the players, a great atmosphere - they have won the league title. Therefore, the Kyiv side will be more confident in the game. Plus they will be performing in front of their own fans - 70 thousand people are expected to attend the game, and almost all of them will be supporting the capital club. But in this game we have nothing to lose. We need to play well, in an open manner. I believe in my team, I believe that Shakhtar have stayed at the same high level, and we have to maintain it. In the following season, everything should be quite different. We were losing matches not because the opponents’ football skills we were superior to ours but because of our own mistakes that the opponents have capitalised on! Therefore, in the Cup match, the game will be good, free-flowing. However, the games with Dynamo have always been like that.

- The president of Dynamo Igor Surkis has said recently that the Cup is not of great importance. Winning it is just a matter of prestige. What is Shakhtar’s attitude towards this trophy?
- I agree with Mr. Surkis. The domestic league is in the first place for us: it gives the opportunity to play in the Champions League. Therefore, it is very important to take the first place in the domestic league. Shakhtar have achieved the Champions League qualification by finishing in second place. The next step is the Cup. For us, every trophy means a lot. And winning the Ukrainian Cup is, in fact, a matter of prestige.

- Shakhtar will again play with Dynamo not on equal terms, as the Kyiv side will be performing on the home ground. Is it an unpleasant fact for the Pitmen, or, on the contrary, an additional motivation?
- Everybody is aware of our situation. There is no need to repeat once again that we play all the matches away from our home. Otherwise, the fans will start to think that this is our alibi... Yes, the situation is as it is. But most importantly - the fans understand that we are playing football for them, for the Donbass, for Donetsk, for all fans of Shakhtar! Of course, everything would be different if the Cup final took place, for example, in Poltava or Lviv – on the neutral ground. But the Federation has made its decision, and no one can change it. Therefore, we will play where we are told to play.

- Dynamo and Shakhtar have been knowing each other for a long time. Shakhtar’s strengths versus Dynamo’s strengths – what trump cards do Shakhtar have?
- For Dynamo, it has always been hard to play with us. The match in the first half of the championship ended 1-0, when Vida scored, despite the fact that we were playing reduced to ten men. In the second half of the championship, it was almost an evenly matched encounter, but we failed to put away a great scoring opportunity. If Adriano had scored, everything would have turned out to be different. I believe in my team! At Dynamo, there are also a lot of good players, there is a coach who has changed everything, who has picked young, strong and experienced players. They have good competition in the team, and this is reflected on the field.

- Plus Alex, minus Fred. What is more significant for the forthcoming match - the loss of a good football player, or an important player’s return to action?
- I think that today Teixeira is the leader of Shakhtar. Of course, Fred has the potential and talent to step into the role of Alex sometime. But at the moment, Teixeira is one of the most important players of our team. I am very pleased that he has become the top scorer of the league. It is nice that the team helped him achieve that. And I am pleased that Shakhtar’s players have been receiving this award for so many years now!

FC Shakhtar