Lucescu: Emphatic win

Sunday, April 17, 2016



Press conference by Shakhtar head coach after the game against Olimpik.

- The game which passed without much pressure from the stands. It can be immediately felt on the field. It did not have the intensity, which is usually present at the full stadium. I'm happy with the result. A pretty emphatic win, although in the first half the opponents caused us certain problems. Maybe Olimpik looked fresher than us. But again, if you noticed, we had seven new players who have not immediately managed to interact as it is inherent in the major players. It is important that we scored an early goal in the second half – a very beautiful one. Then it was a little easier, with us creating three or four more scoring chances. With Marlos and Taison taking the field, everything changed. They well know how to operate offensively. I’ve got nothing more to add to that. I liked Olimpik. In the first half, they played bravely, put pressure, causing problems to our defenders, creating a series of dangerous chances. There were a few deflected balls, which could lead to scoring a goal.

- From the off, Shakhtar fielded eight Ukrainians. Are you happy with their performance?
- It’s not our first time when we field so many Ukrainians. Honestly, when I select the line-up, I do not even count them. Perhaps over the years we have showcased that not Brazilians, Ukrainians, Serbs or Croats decide it, but all the players! Sometimes we fielded seven Brazilians. So I do not think that the presence of a certain number of Ukrainians or foreigners change our game. The only thing I can mention in this case, is the level of the players who take to the pitch, and their practice. Those who have more practice, interact with each other more quickly than those who have not played with each other for a long while. I will not repeat that over the time we have changed, probably, five squads. Only this year, we fielded six new players in the line-up. It all depends on our training system. If they are fine, regardless of nationality they are playing well.

- What do you make of Stepanenko’s debut as captain? Did he cope with this task?
- He has fulfilled all his responsibilities in midfield. As usual, he did a lot of work. Taras won numerous challenges against the rivals. Unfortunately, we have at the moment only two holding midfielders - Stepanenko and Malyshev. They take the pitch all the time – once in three or four days, so it is very difficult to recover them. Sometimes that’s very noticeable. I'm trying to find some options for them to rest. Unfortunately, those options are not numerous so far. But we pay a lot of attention to their recovery. Maybe it will happen during the away game in Odesa, in order to make them look fresher in the first leg against Sevilla.

- Did he cope with captain’s role?
- What was he supposed to show, according to you? (Laughs) I just entrusted him with the captain's armband. All the fielded players know what to do on the football pitch. And I do not think that the captain should do anything special. He sets an example by his behaviour, and Stepanenko has never had any problems with that. That's enough! Maybe to the people in the stands, the captain means more. While the players on the field know their duties. By and large, everyone can be a captain in the course of the game and take responsibility. And if you want to hear something more specific, just as a captain he looked great!

- Today you've deployed Wellington Nem as a false nine. How did you like his performance? Can he become the future leader of the team, as was Alex Teixeira?
- If you have noticed, Dentinho operated behind the striker – Nem didn’t play behind the marksman, but down the wing. And he looked good enough in that role. Perhaps, there was too much individual performance. But one of them led to a goal. It will be much easier for him if Wellington joins in the moves and interacts with the teammates. If this happens, he will grow further. Nem is still a young football player, ambitious, quick, explosive with great skill. There will certainly be his turn to play consistently more.