Mircea Lucescu: Oleksandriya tried to challenge us

Wednesday, April 20, 2016



Press conference by Shakhtar head coach

- A special, real cup tie. Naturally, the two teams who want to make it further have met. We knew that the host side were very well prepared physically. Oleksandriya tried to challenge us. There must have been too many fouls as they fought for every ball. Numerous long balls towards our defensive third – so the opponent were trying to build their attacking moves. At 1- 0, they created another clearcut chance. But, probably, luck was on their side, because in the opening 20 minutes we must have decided everything: we had three scoring chances... But then came the incredible goal by Oleksandriya and they took the lead. In the second half we had ample chances. Converting one. The opponents were dangerous at set play and when delivering long balls into our box. I think the hosts deserved this result through their will and through the way they interpreted every game situation today. They are a tough team, who are not easy to play. Let's see what happens in the second leg. On the whole, I am happy with the outcome.

- Who did you like the most at Oleksandriya? Have you decided where to play the return leg?
- I usually do not single out anyone - neither the hosts nor my players. I am not surprised by the result, which Oleksandriya achieved against Dynamo. They are the team, who are no inferior to others at all, who play based on their strong character. Apparently, it passes onto them from the coach. And this gives them an advantage in numeorus individual challenges throughout the match. If our players were slack in some situations, the hosts were continuously aggressive, being prepared for maximum dedication.

- Last time, you talked about the pitch condition, you criticised it a lot. Are you happy now?
- For this kind of weather the pitch was very good. If there was no rain... But in general, the field allowed both teams to play. This does not mean that you cannot make it still better!