Vasyl Kobin: Oleksandriya will play it tough

Ahead of the Ukrainian League Matchday 14, Shakhtar midfielder gave an interview to the official website.

- In the last two rounds, Oleksandriya played pretty well against their closest rivals by claiming a 3-1 win at Volyn and drawing with Vorskla...
- Plus they made it to the domestic Cup quarterfinals. We can confidently say that the team are gaining momentum. Examples are plentiful. Just remember our match against Oleksandriya in the first round – it was not the easiest one. So on Saturday we are expecting even a tougher meeting, which we will approach with full concentration. But again, it won’t be easy, especially since the opponents are going to play at home enjoying excellent support from the home stands.

- Oleksandriya have 11 yellow cards after the recent four matches: three league ones and one cup meeting. Do you expect any rough play from the opponents?
- Yes, I do. But we are ready for such behaviour by almost all the teams who are of a little bit lower level than Shakhtar. The reason is clear: all the clubs play against us with immense dedication, trying to look decent on the background of Shakhtar, not sparing themselves at all, alongside ourselves. So we really expect a tough performance from Oleksandriya.

- How are you going to rip open the opposition defence, given that Oleksandriya conceded a few less goals than the top three clubs - just 14 goals?
- This once again indicates that the opponents enjoy a great run of form. On the whole, I want to repeat it, Oleksandriya are a good team who deservedly belong to the middle of the standings.

- After Oleksandriya’s most recent game, the one against Vorskla, many experts highlighted the confident performance by their centre-back Serhiy Basov, both defensively and in terms of his joining in the attacking moves. And who should be feared in the opposition squad, according to you?
- I fully agree with the experts. However, I would also note their captain Andriy Zaporozhan, who has been defending the club colours for many years now. But all of us are well aware of the fact that football is a team sport, not involving just two players. We must be cautious towards all of Oleksandriya players.

- Regarding Shakhtar: will the team be enough motivated against the average league performers after a confident victory over Malmo and before the upcoming encounter with Real Madrid?
- Believe me, those players who take to the field in the match against Oleksandriya, will be extremely concentrated and, naturally, will be very motivated – as they have something to prove. So underestimating the opponents is out of the question! Indeed, the team are now in a good mood, but it is also necessary to show it on the pitch. As the mood brings no result, while Shakhtar can’t lose points under whatever circumstances.