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Fonseca: Second half was dominated by Shakhtar

Monday, December 12, 2016



Head coach of the Pitmen reflects on the match in Kyiv

- First of all I want to say that today was a great match amid a very good atmosphere, although it wasn’t that easy for both teams. However, I think that if you really love football and came to the stadium today, you have seen exactly what you wanted – a spectacular performance with goal galore. The kickoff was simply stunning: after 3 minutes into the game, both sides scored one goal each. Dynamo netted one early, in the opening seconds, but we reacted very well. Then the game got a little bit more balanced. We had a lot of scoring chances, with our opponents also being dangerous on the counter. Dynamo netted their second goal as result of a free kick. During the break, we slightly adjusted our actions and made it clear to the guys that claiming a win today was realistic. I think that almost the entire second half was dominated by Shakhtar. We got ourselves on the scoresheet four times, but still had many more clearcut scoring chances we might have taken advantage of. Of course, after sending off a Dynamo player, it got easier for us. In general, it was a very interesting meeting with the strong opponents. I have great respect for Dynamo, I think that the opponents are very well organised and they showcase spectacular football. Of course, we are doubly pleased to come to this stadium and win.

- Is it possible to say after today's game that it tool Paulo Fonseca six months to make Shakhtar the Ukrainian champions?
- Not at all, no way. I do not agree with your words. We can’t say yet that we have pocketed the league title. We’ve got many more games ahead, we have to fight and work until the very end – just then we will be able to make certain conclusions.

- Earlier you said that the Ukrainian title is Shakhtar’s major aim for the season. After today's victory, can you review your priorities and switch them to European club competitions? And second, what do you make of Celta? Can we say that you’ve been lucky so far in terms of your opponents?
- Just one goal remains to be our major focus – claiming the Ukrainian League title. So it will be until the end of the season. In no case should we turn off on another path and abandon our goal. Because I said that we still got many more games before the end of the league season. No, we will not give any preference to the Europa League, because our priority is the league. As for the second question, it’s always difficult against Spanish opponents, and this must be understood. Celta is a very good team. But we still have plenty of time ahead to learn more about them and get fully prepared for the games.

What Shakhtar players are leaving the team this winter?
- Hopefully none. I do not expect anyone to leave.

- What is Yevhen Seleznov's future? Also comment on the situation around sending off Moraes. None of your players responded to provocation. Are you surprised?
- About Seleznov: that’s our internal matter, and I cannot really speak a lot about it. Over time, everything will be decided. As for the provocation, we warned our players before the game that they shouldn’t get involved in any type of conflict. When all that happened on the pitch, I just ran as close as possible to them and wanted to say, ‘Guys, I told you, you shouldn’t get involved in the conflicts. We just came here to display our football – nothing more than that.' 

- Can say anything about Darijo Srna and clarify his future?
- To be honest, I cannot tell you much about that. Hopefully, none of the players will leave our team. I had a word with Darijo. I can feel and hope that he stays with us.

- It’s very interesting to hear from you a comparison between the Ukrainian league and those of European countries.
- It is hard to make such comparisons. It’s true that in Europe there are many teams who are stronger, because they get more investment, for example, if we look at the English or Spanish league. Clearly those clubs are stronger, because they are buying the world's top players. What I’ve been going through now gives me some huge experience. That’s a wonderful challenge for me. Here you have the league which is strong enough, featuring some really good teams. Therefore, we will challenge them.

- Before the match, you said that you had played this season against the sides stronger than Dynamo. What are those teams?
- I'm sorry, but I want to say straight away: never have I said that we met with stronger opponents than Dynamo. I said that we had got some equally challenging opponents. Perhaps it was a mistake? I would never say that, because I have already said this: I really respect Dynamo. This is a very strong team with good players and a great coach. Moreover, all the matches against Dynamo have not been easy for us at all. That is exactly why I would never say that.

- Don’t you think that Shakhtar concede many goals for the tournament favourites?
- We haven’t suffered a single defeat this league season. Besides, we convert our chances better than anyone else, being the most prolific team. If we do not take any other games now, it’s true that they have scored three goals against us today. Nevertheless, the Pitmen responded perfectly and continued to behave with dignity on the pitch. In the end I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!