Mircea Lucescu: We started the match strongly – it came as a surprise for Dynamo
Shakhtar’s head coach has reflected on the win over Dynamo.
- Todaysaw a very high level match between the teams who are getting ready to play in the Champions League. I would highlight our good organisation of the game throughout the whole match. We tried to avoid the areal duels, in which Dynamo are strong. We, in turn, deployed fast actions with good dribbling, quick transitions from defence to attack. We agreed to start the match very strongly. We did that. To some extent, it came as a surprise for Dynamo. Maybe they had some kind of fear as a result. This gave us an upper hand at the beginning of the game. But in general, I think there are not any doubts about our win being well-deserved, as well as a big result which reflects that. The result could have been even greater, we could have scored more goals! I am pleased with the team. Today, players were virtually flawless. During the preparation for the game with Dynamo, I reminded the players about the matches against Real Madrid and PSG. If we do not take into account the goals we conceded because of errors, we can say that our games against those giants were pretty even. We asked the players to control the game today too, dominate proceedings and be more composed in defence. All that happened today. We closed down Yarmolenko well, using two players. The implication was that Dynamo would have problems in attack without him. As for other issues, they are our internal affairs; we will analyse them and will prepare for the away game with Malmo.
- Was the left wing with Bernard and Ismaily a forced move or a deliberate one based on the Dynamo tactics and players?
- Ismaily had studied Dynamo well, Yarmolenko, in particular. Shevchuk did not play very well against PSG, to some extent he had a rest after the international break, during which he played two matches. Thus, Ismaily was employed in that position and looked quite convincing. As for Bernard, he is improving from match to match. It took him a long time to understand football, which Shakhtar play, what I require from players. He appeared in the starting line-up because I believe in him. We unfortunately lost Taison. He got injured in the last training session. But Bernard would have started anyway.
- You gave football a lot of world-class midfielders and no striker. Do you not have an eye for forwards or are they not so important in such saturated midfield?
- Our game is built so that, by and large, there is no need for a forward to score – it is done by midfielders, who burst from deep. In the past, our top scorers were Jadson, Mkhitaryan, now - Teixeira. This is the second line of the players who open up from deep and know how to break into the penalty area. That’s how they score. It is not always the attacker, who must send the ball into the net - you need to create zones for players to burst into. In a match with Dynamo, it worked quite well. So I'm not very worried about the fact that Gladkyy did not score today, and that he nets few goals. If a player supports our attacking mechanisms, and thus helps the team, then it suits me. Sometimes I read in the press that only one player scores for us. But whatever they say, as of now we have scored the highest number of goals in the league! During these 11 years, our players have scored eight times more than others. We are an attacking team and we stick to our style in every match. I did not like when some people were saying that now we are weaker than Dynamo. To confirm superiority, the opponents have to beat us all the time. It has not happened yet. We lost two matches when we scored an own goal and the ball flew into the net after a Vida headed shot. By and large, there were not any games, when Dynamo would score goals against our team from open play. All that has to do with our game, the organisation of defence, attack and dedication, which has been on the pitch today. Of course, I am pleased with the result. I would wish Dynamo every success in their double-header against Chelsea. For Ukrainian football, it is very important for the team to perform well. I do not think it will be easy psychologically after the match with us, but they have to find the strength to go through such a moment.
- Was this the best match for Bernard at Shakhtar?
- I told him personally that this was his best game. The same happened with Willian, who scored three goals in the first two years at Shakhtar. Adriano also initially needed time and patience, the coach’s trust! Bernard stopped playing only into himself - he has very good individual qualities, and he is focused on team activities. Perhaps you have seen today the Bernard, whom Shakhtar wanted and the club bought. Hopefully, he will be the same and maybe even better.