Serhiy Kovalyov: The pre-match morale is just sky-high

Head coach of Shakhtar U19 answered the questions ahead of the meeting with Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League.

- On Sunday, you had a domestic league match. How is the team’s recovery going before the game against Real Madrid?
- The group of players who were involved in the encounter with Oleksandriya, have gone for a run today, - we gave the guys some rest. The other half of the team had a full training session. The fact that the Ukrainian league match was held on the heavy and boggy pitch, affected the boys’ general condition. There were numerous challenges, a lot of physical effort, so we could do less running. On the other hand, perhaps the field in Morshyn won’t be any better, so our players will feel better in a similar situation.

- What conclusions did you make after the first leg against Real?
- For some guys it was a debut match, they now feel the taste of the UEFA Youth League. Everyone perfectly understands that our opponents are a technical team who have good control of the ball. They are also experienced tactically. We can counteract them using full dedication and quality teamwork. Those factors are crucial. The morale will be just sky-high. Of course, under no circumstances should we lose individual challenges for the ball.

- Do you have any personnel losses?
- All the players are fine, being available and ready to take part in the game.

- Can we say that this is a key match of the group stage? In case of winning it, Shakhtar U19 have a good chance of claiming the second spot in the group.
- To have that, we also need PSG to beat Malmo. In general, each encounter is key to us. We will make every effort to claim the win – as it gives us a chance of reaching the next stage. But we rely just on our own strength, without looking at the other matchday games, we prepare to take the field and claim a positive result.