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Unai Emery: It's hard to remember when we found it as tough as today

Friday, April 29, 2016



Mentor of Sevilla answered questions from the media at the post-match press conference

- Unai, Shakhtar vs Sevilla – 2-2. Palop – 2-2. Aren’t you afraid that it will also be 2-2 in the return game, with Pyatov equalising in the dying seconds?
- I still want to talk about today's match! Both teams looked decent and used their chances, so I think the return leg will be quite difficult - both for Shakhtar and Sevilla. I said before the game: the odds are equal - 50 to 50, with today's result only confirming the equality of the two teams.

- Did Konoplyanka burn out today? And how serious is Krohn-Dehli’s injury?
- I'll start with the second question. Football is a very demanding sport, with the players often getting injured. Of course, the club for its part will make every effort to make Michael recover, we will take advantage of every possibility and capacity of our best medical staff – everyone who can help in his recovery. As for Konoplyanka, we trust this footballer. We are confident that he will reveal his best qualities in the following matches and, in particular, in the second leg. This experience will certainly help him grow as a player, and he will contribute to the overall result.

- What does Konoplyanka lack to become the first team regular?
- We already see changes in his performance. Football is a universal sport, but every country, every league has its own special features, its own specifics. Of course, the Ukrainian is growing in our team, and he, of course, is a great football player. I am sure that together we can achieve even more and that he will become even more professional in the field, revealing his best capabilities.

- Today you have shown two different halves, but you are still better offensively than defensively. Will it be so in Seville?
- Football is a game where you need both attacking and defending! When we are defending, among other things this occurs due to the fact that our opponents force us to do so. Shakhtar did it pretty often today. Having the ball, we felt more comfortable, as we could launch our own attacks and orchestrate our own moves. Throughout the 90 minutes, we saw it on the pitch: attacking and defensive actions. I think the 2-2 score accurately reflects the events that took place at this wonderful stadium today. Therefore, the result is quite objective.

- Are Sevilla interested in Viktor Kovalenko? Can you confirm or refute this information.
- Our club is closely watching the young players of every league. Kovalenko is a promising young player with a huge potential. It can grow into a very good player in the future. But there were no concrete proposals from us.

- Did you feel the difference in Shakhtar’s performance in the first half and after the break?
- There is nothing to be surprised at: for 90 minutes the teams were alternately attacking and defending. Shakhtar attacked quite powerfully. When we had the ball, we orchestrated our moves, with Donetsk defending very well. Actually, the things which we were preparing for took place on the pitch. We expect such performance. So personally, I'm not surprised.

- At home, Sevilla beat both Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus. Whilst away, you managed to beat only the opponents from the lower leagues in the Spanish Cup. Why does it happen?
- Right, I think we will need to scrutinise this thing, but only at the end of the season, which was difficult for our team. The players are trying hard, they are faced with greater requirements, we actually face serious challenges. But, despite all that, we move forward, claiming important points and continuing to fight for the Europa League title. And you could see that on the field today. It was our dedication, the team worked.

- The closing 30 minutes of the first half seemed to be the most difficult for Sevilla. After the break, the team showed their best qualities and could seemingly seize the initiative. What can you say about that?
- I find it hard to recall the matches in which it was so difficult for us as today. Yes, perhaps, I can remember the meeting with Valencia this season, along with last season’s one against Zenit in St. Petersburg, when we overcame huge pressure of the opponents. After such things, teams win titles. It is incredibly important both for the team as a whole, and for the players individually.

- What can you say about Vitolo’s performance?
- He's not fully recovered from his injury, I talked about it yesterday. But Vitolo really wanted to take the field, and he said that he would stand it. He delivered a decent performance and helped the team to achieve the result.