Oleksandr Sopko: Malmo play simply and pragmatically

The defender of Shakhtar in 1981-1990 has given his take on the upcoming match in the Champions League.

- I'm waiting for the Donetsk team to make every effort to successfully play in the duel with Malmo. Given that the Pitmen have shown a very strong game and good football in a match against Dynamo, expectations about this Champions League tie are very optimistic. I believe that the Pitmen are now in good shape.

- By the way, on the match with Dynamo. Will this victory in the Ukrainian league give the Pitmen a psychological lift?
- Yes, before the meeting with Dynamo the Pitmen played not the most pleasant games and not the fairest result: ended the match reduced to ten men, the referees made mistakes, and the players... So it did not entirely reflect the team game, so psychology it affected a little. Victory over Dynamo, on the one hand, has shown that every player is individually strong enough, and together, with all the attitude and character, Shakhtar are transforming into a very strong team, even by European standards. That is, this victory should reassure the players, but on the other hand - not to relax. This result over Dynamo was achieved through high discipline, dedication, team movement and speed - the qualities that the Pitmen have been lacking recently. I hope they will shot all that in the Malmo clash.

- Considering that the Donetsk team play on the road, can you call them favourites?
- In these double-headers the teams want to play second games at home, because after the first match, you can already make some conclusions, choose tactics. But Shakhtar can play the two upcoming matches in the Champions League in an attacking style and achieve a positive outcome.

- Should we expect physical football from the Swedish team?
- Malmo play pragmatic and simple football. They have little control over the ball and mainly use long passes, trying to make the most from the set plays. If the Pitmen succeed in individual duels, bravery, aggressiveness and discipline, as it was in a match with Dynamo, they will pose more threat to the opponents. Shakhtar’s players are stronger individually and stronger than their opponents.

- After impressive game from Bernard in the matches with Dynamo, is there any chance that we would see the Brazilian in the starting line-up?
- Everyone has long known that this player has a big potential. But consistency is what makes a classy player different from a talented player, the ability to consistently show the results of a high level. Matches with Malmo are a test for Bernard, after which we will understand whether he is just a talented footballer and really classy.