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Gall: Shakhtar is best team in Ukraine

Sunday, December 4, 2016



Stal mentor reflects on the meeting with Shakhtar

- Today we played against the best team in Ukraine. I believe they are the champions already. Had we managed to score against Shakhtar, it would have been very good and we might have achieved a positive outcome. Keeping the score 0-0 for as long as possible was one of our goals, but after the penalty that point was not relevant any more. Conceding a goal from the Pitmen and charging ahead at breakneck speed would have been suicidal for us. Offensively, we were not aggressive, we had, if I may say so, no fist. We had just one good attacking move involving Mysyk, but he got injured before shooting. At half-time I asked the players to try to keep the 1-0 score for as long as possible, because Shakhtar will also need to prepare for the Europa League game on Thursday as well as for the meeting with Dynamo Kyiv. Who knows, may be their concentration would have reduced then? If the score had remained the same, perhaps we would have risked more and pressed forward in order to score and even equalise. But Shakhtar's second goal was superb – it just buried our hopes for a positive result. Even taking into account the moment when they might have awarded a spot kick against Shakhtar, I cannot say whether it would have affected the outcome or not. Rather, the scoreline would just have looked nicer – 2-1. We should not be ashamed today, since Shakhtar is one of the best teams even in Europe. Being surely the best in Ukraine.

- What game did Stal want to impose on Shakhtar? The players didn’t seem to grasp what to do offensively.
- No, they knew what to do offensively. But when the opponents are much better than you, and you do not want to give them any space... Had we put pressure on them, it would have been a suicide for us – so brilliant are Shakhtar players individually. We had one hope - that that they wouldn’t score and that we would be able to keep the goalless draw for as long as we could. The same thing was true at 1-0: you need to have patience, be calmer and not just run like hell forward. Once you start, you are sure to be punished immediately.

- Meskhi played in different roles: two weeks ago - a central defender, and today – as a second striker or as a forward. But it did not work, because you could hardly win the ball. Where it is better for him to operate?
- Misha spent on the field only 15 minutes! He hadn’t played for the first team before. Meskhi had good appearances for the U21 team, he excellently proves himself, and I would like to give him the opportunity to appear on the field with the first team. Kalenchuk felt unwell, so he wasn’t able to play for 90 minutes. And it was a chance for Misha – to appear and prove himself. I do not know why you said that he had played as a defender. You need to do your homework better.

- Theoretically, Stal still have a chance of getting into the top six, but what would you say if you evaluate the situation realistically?
- A positive result against Shakhtar is always like bonus points you never expect. But we had to beat Vorskla. We must have done that to continue to fight for the sixth spot. In the previous meeting, neither team deserved to win. But we could have got past Poltava in the standings, and it would seem that we could continue to fight for the sixth spot. Due to the negative outcome, we are eliminated from that competition. Although there is still a chance. After the winter break, we will meet with the opponents we might take points away from, I guess. We might even do that in our next game, which takes place next week.

- Did they make it a condition that without making it among the top six sides you would have to leave the club?
- No, we didn’t discuss that with our management. When I took over this post after Eric van der Meer, they just asked me to be the head coach – without any tasks so far. But, of course, I wanted it.