Darijo Srna: With such team and coach, we must be present in semi-finals

Tuesday, April 19, 2016



The captain of Shakhtar talked to reporters

- Do you believe that you still can win the title race vs Dynamo?
- Of course I do. It will be very hard, if you look at the league today. But Vorskla are a good team, we must believe in that. If we get it – OK, if we don’t – that’s fine then. This is football, that's life, we just need to survive that. We all need to be honest to ourselves! Everyone should know whether they’ve made their best or not. I believe that all the players are professionals. Today, everyone gives their all, with someone being able to do even more. Let's have a look at our result at the end of the season.

- Dynamo were knocked out by Oleksandriya, most likely because of underestimating the opponents. Is that microclimate present in the team at the moment?
- I wouldn’t mention underestimating! You know, we found it tough against Oleksandriya, when we claimed a 3-2 away win. Three days ago, they beat Zorya 2-0. Defeated Dynamo and were tied 1-1 at Olympiyskyi... Oleksandriya deserve respect. So it's not about underestimating anyone, but about the good qualities of the team and coach. There's always a great atmosphere. Although, Shakhtar are favourites according to records, but we must prove it in the two semi-final games.

- You easily passed Braga, score wise for sure. Did you expect that?
- If we look at the scoreline, it’s natural. But if you look at the fact that they had a clear penalty, when we were lucky ... Just as they were lucky not to have earned a spot kick in Braga. Ultimately,  I think that we deservedly made it past Braga and deservedly got through to the semi-finals.

- What does your advancement to the Europa League semi-finals, as for the captain of Shakhtar, mean in the current circumstances?
- For me that’s no surprise, as regards quality and quantity of players. With such a team and coach, we must be present in the semi-finals! But if we look at the situation we are in, of course, that’s a major step.

- Darijo, are the team able to stand the pace and level of the next two or three weeks? The league season end is just round the corner, with you facing numerous matches and serious opponents.
- You know, we have many flights and we travel a lot, but you forget that all, when you are in a good mood! After Braga we forgot for how long and where we flied. So you forget everything after winning, but when you produce a poor result, of course, it hurts even more. We have the strength. With many footballers. We’ve seen it against Olimpik: we do not have 11 men, but 22 instead. They can appear at any time, showcasing some good, Shakhtar kind of football and win the match.

- What do you make of Sevilla? What strengths would you mention?
- Sevilla are a team who won the Europa League and the UEFA Cup many times. They are in the seventh position in the Spanish league, but that does not mean anything. That’s the team who deserve respect. They have a good coach, players with great individual qualities. They also have Konoplyanka, who can give them a lot of important information about Shakhtar. But everything will be clear on the field. Two-legged tie... I believe in my team and I think that the chances are 50 to 50.

- There is an extra motivation to return Sevilla the favour for the game when Palop scored a scintillating goal in the dying minutes?
- Let bygones be bygones. We won’t forget Palop, but we must take to the pitch with a cool head and play another game. We are no longer former Sevilla and Shakhtar. Therefore, it will be a quite different encounter.

- Is it tougher physically now?
- No, even better. When you play two semi-finals, of course, you are pleased. Great adrenaline and a wonderful atmosphere. Look how many reporters are present today. Two months ago, there were five people, and today we have twenty-five! That's nice. Meaning that Shakhtar play well and they will succeed in every respect.

- Mircea Lucescu said earlier that Shakhtar nave no resources to win the Europa League. Now, when you're two steps away from the final, can you feel the presence of that strength and motivation?
- Mister gives you information, which is different from the things he says to us. We have reached the semi-finals. Mister strongly believes in the team! Had he not believed, we wouldn’t have been here then, so we justly and deservedly made it to the Europa League semi-finals.

- Can we say that you are willing to sacrifice the league title for the sake of winning the Europa League one?
- We won’t sacrifice anything. We will fight for everything and to the end.

- You decided to play the game vs Dynamo in Lviv. Have you finally felt that, finally, Lviv is also ready to root for Shakhtar?
- We have no problems when playing in European competitions since everyone roots for us. The reason behind that decision is not having to fly from Lviv to Zaporizhya, because before that and after, we are facing the games vs Sevilla. We so decided to save time. One flight means a lot. I believe that it will be a great genuine derby, and let Lviv choose themselves who to root for.

- Did Rinat Akhmetov congratulate the team on reaching the semi-finals? Did he have a word with you?
- Of course he did. The president congratulated me and the team. For me the most important thing is the result. The president is always with us, he always supports the club. In this difficult situation he fulfills his obligations. He is the man who loves football and his team.

- Do you enjoy strong support?
- You know, that’s owing to the team, I have nothing to do with that. Without this team, this coach and this president, I wouldn’t have done what I did. Neither me nor the team. When there is a solid foundation built by the president, there is everything else. This can be seen on the field and judging by the performance.