Vasyl Kobin: Real Madrid began to play more defensively

Shakhtar defender gave an interview to the club website before the match against Real Madrid.

- Vasyl, it is highly probable that you will appear in the match against Real Madrid. Is that a special challenge for you?
- Primarily, that’s a blessing for me. Every footballer dreams of playing against the team to check their level. The Champions League involves top matches, with everyone willing to take part in them.

- Checking the level is great. But above all, those encounters involve a huge responsibility.
- Of course! All players want to play at the highest level. By and large though, little depends on just one individual. Since a team play! The first meeting with Real Madrid was good enough, with Shakhtar dominating possession, but we failed to create any chances. Then we had a match against Paris Saint-Germain, with the finishing failing us. We managed to score just in the fourth round - as they say, we had a breakthrough. If in the match against Real Madrid we similarly create chances and convert them, everything will be fine then.

- Before the first meeting with Real, the most difficult thing was to cope with the opponents’ pressure of big names. Are you experiencing a certain psychological burden at the moment?
- In all honesty, I don’t. And I do not think that it should happen. Playing away, we lost to Real Madrid. But this time, our fans will come to the stadium! We have to demonstrate our game, and then act based on the score. Personally, I do not feel any pressure.

- Will the story involving Karim Benzema affect the mental attitude of Real Madrid?
- Karim is the main striker. The entire game is built around him, Ronaldo and Bale. Of course, that’s a major loss for Madrid. Meanwhile, that’s good for us, because the opponents do not have an appropriate substitute. Still, over the past three years, Karim gained a foothold in that role.

- How has Real Madrid changed with the arrival of Rafael Benitez?
- The Meringues began to play more defensively. Previously, they focused solely on attacking, while under the current mentor they drop deep and play on the counter more frequently.

- Real Madrid have solved the crucial task and advanced to the knockout stage. Do you allow for certain complacency on behalf of the Spaniards?
- Just a bit, only certain underestimation. The cold weather might affect it either. But one way or another, the players of Real Madrid are masters of their craft. They know how to handle the ball. Everything will depend on the development of the game.