Yaroslav Rakitskyy: Metalist have improved ball control

The Pitmen’s defender has shared his views on the upcoming match against Metalist.

- Yaroslav, in the last game with Metalist the opponents scored in the final seconds, which resulted in Shakhtar losing points. This time, there will be even more responsibility, won’t there?
- Now each match creates pressure not only for defenders, but also for the whole team. The situation is such that we cannot play at home. We play all the games away from home. But to become champions, we have to win every match.

- How to avoid the problems of the last seconds?
- We are working on it. Mister analyses in detail all our mistakes. There will be tactical pre-match instructions ahead of the Metalist clash. Much depends on us. We cannot be complacent, as it sometimes happens to us after two or three goals scored. We will improve, everything will pan out well.

- Shakhtar are experienced team and Metalist, in turn, have a lot of young players. Is it the reason why there was concentration lapse in the previous game?
- No I do not think so. There are experienced players at Metalist too: Priyomov and Lyopa. They are a good team.

- How have the Kharkiv team changed since the arrival of Oleksandr Sevidov?
- Metalist are displaying a good game under his management. They have improved their transition from defence to attack, their ball control. In my opinion, it is Sevidov’s merit. We can see that the team are progressing.

- In Kharkiv, there are a lot of fans of Shakhtar. What to expect in terms of support?
- We have not played in Kharkiv for a long time. Hopefully, Donetsk fans will come to support. To be honest, I think, for us half of the Kharkiv fans will root for us!

- Isn’t that a pity that such a great team as Metallist have suffered from unfortunate metamorphosis?
- First of all, I feel very sorry for their club. I hope the Kharkivside will return to previous level, and we will fight for the top places. I remember how we were gearing up for matches against them. There was a time when we were waiting for the Metalist clash more than for games against Dynamo!

- During an international break, Shakhtar played friendly matches and Metalist were just training. How will this affect the physical conditions of the teams?
- For us there is a big plus: when there is an international break, Mister always finds matches for those who, for example, do not have a lot of practice. Again, this is a huge advantage: you're always in form. Such team as Shakhtar must play every three days! It quickly becomes a habit, and you are not so tired. And when there is a long break... I know it myself: when you miss one match you feel tired, out of shape the next day. So, we are always in good shape, and you even have more energy.

- Did you follow Shakhtar’s friendly matches, when you were away on international duty?
- Yes, I watched the first match at the Italian training camp online on our website. Of course, it is a pity that we lost, but there was such a game... The referee behaved strangely.

- What is it like for a first team player to watch his side play?
- First of all, I want to play for them. But at the same time you realize that you are on the international duty and about to play a decisive match. It is a pity that we did not beat Slovakia. But we are optimistic about the future, we have a good chance.