Oleksandr Funderat: Club’s target is to win in all competitions
On the eve of the start of the UEFA Youth League, FC Shakhtar Academy Director gave an interview to the official website.
- How would you assess the team's performance in the past year’s UEFA Youth League? How significant that final was for the Academy and Shakhtar?
- Participation in the final stages of the UEFA Youth League was what we were moving towards and dreamed. The victory in the semi-finals and reaching the final is what we will strive for this season. We will try to emulate last year's result, and perhaps even improve it. I say this so confidently, because the team’s experience that has been gained in the previous two tournaments says the following: there are specific names of the clubs, but it all depends on how we are ready to compete and on the quality of our football. I think that our past year’s performance deserves top marks. It is confirmed by the results in the Ukrainian league, which the U19 team won.
- The guys understand that the bar is set very high. Have you told them about being on a par with the last year's level or is it a new team who follow their own way?
- We continue to work in the club, where we work! These guys understand what the team are about. We have one objective: to win every game, not be afraid of any opponents and achieve the maximum in each competition in which we participate. And the most important thing is to prepare players for the first team through these competitions. Therefore, we do not divide our teams into age groups. There is Shakhtar’s level. This level is to win in all competitions.
- Why have Shakhtar U19 been entrusted to Serhiy Kovalyov? How can you characterise him as a coach and as a person?
- I have known Serhiy Kovalyov for a long time; I have trained Shakhtar-3 with him. He has experience at all levels of the Academy. He coached youth teams, which is important in the period of players’ transition from U17 to U19. He knows the specifics. He has been Miguel Cardoso’s assistant head coach at Shakhtar U21 for the last two years. That is Serhiy Kovalyov has expertise in all the key groups of the Academy. His assistant head coach Gennadiy Orbu knows the players who will be the backbone of the U19 team in the next two years. So our choice was made in favour of this coaching tandem.