Mircea Lucescu: An episode may decide the game

Wednesday, April 6, 2016



Press conference of the head coach of Shakhtar before the game vs Braga

- Four years ago, Marlos and Taison at Metalist lost to Sporting in the Last 8. Did you talk to them about the meeting to make the players want to return the favour?
- No, I reminded them about our encounter with Braga instead of the game vs Sporting. We made videos of that match, refreshed the memory of the goals scored, alomgside some episodes of the match. I'm more concerned with my team, and not with our opponents.

- Mister, the question is about the fact that bothered everyone. Rakits’kyy is back training. Has he recovered fully, or is it the situation in which you just have no choice and need to field him in spite of his current form?
- Rakits’kyy has been training with the general group since Saturday. So he, just like everyone else, is getting prepared for tomorrow's game.

- The most recent matches were quite different for Shakhtar and Braga. You defeated Metalist 8-1, while Braga suffered a 1-5 defeat at the hands of Benfica. Will this fact affect the mood of the players before tomorrow's match?
- Those are completely different tournaments, having nothing in common. Comparing them is very difficult. Perhaps, the previous meeting did not decide much for Braga. While the Europa League features the rivals of about the same level, and an episode can decide the game.

- Mister Lucescu, you have already played here against Braga and know how to act against them. But many things have changed since then. Braga have another coach and different players. Have the opponents changed significantly over the years?
- Six years ago, Braga were a very good team. Maybe they did not have any European club cup experience... They lost to Arsenal in London, but beat the latter at home. Meanwhile, we beat them in the first leg due to a great experience. In Donetsk we had a very tough game! As for today’s Braga, they are the team that was created to produce performance. They are very technical. Well-organised team who know what to do on the pitch. I want to highlight Braga players, who certainly have a great future: Rafa Silva, Josué, Pedro Santos, great strikers Stojiljkovic and Hassan. They are a strong team.

- Mister, when Ismaily moved to Shakhtar, he was the third left-back. Many people saw him rank only after Azevedo and Shevchuk. How much did he progress and what distinguishes Ismaily from other players at his position, who used to play for Shakhtar?
- He covered the same way as all the Brazilians who have joined Shakhtar: they always get off to a difficult start, but eventually they get used to the training process, the atmosphere, the league and the intensity of our training sessions. We are the team that play to win only. We concede goals once a year - and this can cause us problems. Some talented players joined Shakhtar, they needed time to prove themselves. Ismaily was patient. He won the competition against the others, currently being a first-team regular. Not everyone had such a character as he did - after the first or second year, some players gave up. But those who have stood everything I was talking about, now play for Europe’s biggest clubs. Talent is very important for me, but that’s not the most important thing for a football player.

- One more question worrying many people in the Ukrainian football: there won’t be the Dynamo vs Shakhtar cup final, because Kyiv have lost today. I would like to hear your comment on this issue.
- We are getting prepared for Braga. I don’t particularly follow the current events in the Ukrainian Cup.