Meet Oleksandr Pikhalyonok!

The talented midfielder of Shakhtar U-19 team became one of the main characters of the latest issue of Shakhtar e-magazine. Oleksandr’s accompanied with the related themed photo spreads and a video is presented in the issue in a digital format. We bring you some excerpts from the interview. Read the full version in our online publication, which is available for free download!

- You had your first UEFA Youth League experience this year. Tell us about your impressions.
- We encountered some great top-class opponents. Of course, I have only the best impressions after such meetings! Coming out in the starting line-up against Benfica for the first time was very hard. I was very nervous before the game back then, although jitters always disappear after the opening whistle. In general, I have a sea of ​​emotions and impressions. The competition gave me some invaluable experience. Because of that, I even find playing in the Ukrainian league somewhat easier now.

- Why didn’t you take any spot kicks at all?
- It so happened that I appeared in the starting line-up against Benfica. At the end of the match, we had a penalty shootout. I wasn’t confident enough to step up and attempt a spot kick. Back then I reckoned it was better to entrust this matter to the more experienced guys.

- You're from Donetsk. After moving together with the team to Poltava, was it mentally hard to tune in to playing football after leaving your home?
- Very hard. I continuously think about home and the situation there. I tried to get myself distracted from that so that it doesn’t interfere with the training sessions. Now I’ve got used to it, it's OK.

- You’ve travelled a lot with the team this year. What spots did you like most?
- I liked Bilbao. Beautiful and homely town, I would get back there with great pleasure. They really have plenty of sightseeing spots being well worth viewing.

FC Shakhtar