Eric van der Meer: One must fight to the end

Sunday, April 10, 2016



Head coach of Stal took part in the post-match press conference and answered questions from the media

- I must say that I am very happy today! I think everyone was watching the match against Braga, and we knew that Shakhtar are very strong. I was very surprised by what I saw in Braga - it was fantastic, plus we’ve had to play them today! I did not need to motivate my players at all. But we also did one nice thing this week. This influenced our performance and gave us confidence and aggressiveness. On Thursday we visited a baby home, and today I did not talk about football, I only spoke about those kids. The abandoned small children have to fight to survive. And we had to do the same thing on the field today. We had to fight to the bitter end. But to be organised at the same time. We saw the kids’ parents: they have no organisation of life, they leave the children in those homes, and I think it made a huge impression on my players. And particularly on me. If we talk about my team today, I can only thank them for this match. We played against a very and very serious opponents. We tried to play football, we scored three magnificent goals. Of course, Shakhtar were better on the field, but we knew that before. We tried to do everything possible. Even at the end we left behind our players one-on-one with their rivals, and Kolya Ishchenko, our defender, has scored that goal! I am a really happy coach today!

- What did you feel when Shakhtar scored the third goal?
- We did not have too many feelings, because we still had to play on. We tried to score, and we succeeded. Until the moment when the ref blows the final whistle, we will always try to score the winning goal or equalise. We must fight to the end. If we could score two goals early in the game or in the course of the match, it means that we could score the third one. We had faith.

- Can we say that the consolation goal against Dnipro in the last match has given strength to the team today?
- Those are two completely different games. On Friday, we had a press conference, and there I was asked the same question. But how did it actually happen: was it Dnipro who allowed us to play at 4-0 or did it happen because of us? What I saw was that the opponents allowed us to play. We lost 0-3 in the first leg, so they just gave us the opportunity to score this goal.

- Maybe it's time to compare Stal not with Lada, but with Mercedes? Confidence and organisation wise?
Let's stop comparing Lada and Ferrari! I just brought you a metaphor to be able to compare the two teams, so let’s drop it! Today we have noticed that Shakhtar were looking much better than us, but with good game organisation and fighting, one can even draw against such team.