Carlo Nicolini: We deserve positive outcome in game with Schalke

Shakhtar have begun the second part of the winter training camp. The team have moved to Spain. In what condition are the players today and when to expect the peak of the team’s physical form? We talk about it to Carlo Nicolini, Shakhtar fitness coach.

- Carlo, the second phase of the winter training camp begins. In what physical conditions are the team going into it? Are you satisfied with the work, done in the US?
- As a professional who wants to win trophies for Shakhtar and together with Shakhtar, I cannot say that I am completely satisfied. We did everything we could. But the team's conditions do not meet those that should be at the level of the club such as Shakhtar. Overall I am satisfied with the work, carried out by our coaching staff, players’ attitude towards their professional duties. At the moment, I consider the physical readiness of the team as so-so. Most of the players trained very well. In this regard, I would note all Ukrainian players. They arrived on time, without injuries, took part in all the training sessions. But some players unfortunately were injured and missed training sessions. Their conditions are not up to a mark. Now we have arrived in Spain. We have two weeks for the players to gain the best physical shape. If all work in accordance with our plan, I think, for the match against Schalke we can go into condition, which will allow us to get a positive result.

- Does the training camp in another continent require special attention in terms of physical training, given long flights, change of time zones, acclimatisation.
- Yes, the flights were long. But we can recover in short time, even taking into account the change of time zone. It is not a big problem. Many teams face things like that. The main thing is that our players should follow my and Mister’s plan, the instructions. At the moment, we do what we have to: we perform a very large amount of work.

- A lot of young players went to the training camp together with the team: Matvienko, Kovalenko, Korobenko, Zubkov, Boryachuk, Arabidze. What can you say about their readiness?
- Yes, we traditionally took young players. If I am not mistaken, this is my 24th training camp with Shakhtar - and each time Mister takes the best players of the Academy. Six young players are with us now, they are of a good level. They demonstrate a conscientious attitude to work, professionalism and discipline. I can say that they have a future and all the qualities to become top players. But they need to develop physically, because they are still not formed in this regard, given their age. They are young guys who need to gain experience. We must remember that Shakhtar play at the highest European level, where experience is extremely important. I repeat: these players show professionalism in tactical and technical terms, every day an experienced coach teaches them all aspects of the game. If they follow the instructions of Mircea Lucescu, then in the future they have the potential to become key players. As of now, yes, they can already benefit the team, but they cannot decide the fate of the match singlehandedly.

- Which of your charges have gained necessary condition the quickest after the training camp in America?
- As I have already said that those players who took part in all training sessions have a great chance to go into 18 February in good shape. I cannot talk about the peak of conditions, because our league does involve official games before the spring campaign in the Champions League or the Europa League. Those players, who missed part of the preparation, must make every effort in the remaining days before the game with Schalke.

- What are the most significant positives of the training camp in America in terms of the preparatory process?
- Training camp in the United States was important in terms of the image of the club and the players. It was also important in terms of new experience for the players. Of course there were problems, but they form character! I repeat: the most important thing in this training camp is a new experience, players’ attitude and discipline. Plus, players saw different world, which can help them in the future.