Serhiy Lavrinenko: We felt the level of the Premier League

Friday, July 22, 2016



 Post match press-conference of Zirka's head coach

- We felt the level of the Premier League right from the start. Our opener took place against a good club, a club with traditions, which has won the league numerous times, and is a regular participant of the Champions League and Europa League. Therefore, it was certainly hard for us today. But at the same time, we understand that we need to learn to play under tremendous pressure, because Shakhtar is a team that has always set a high tempo. It was extremely hard for us. Although we won the First League, where we usually played the first fiddle, here we will definitely not be able to do so. Bu we will learn. This is also an experience for us, today many of the guys and the coaching staff made their debut in the Premier League. I think we will learn as we go and figure it out. It is probably best to play with such good teams in the beginning to understand our actual level and what to work on in the future.
- I think Kavatsiv could prevent Shakhtar players from feeling free in the penalty area, but he was left on the bench.
- We decided not to change our tactics much. Kucherenko and Kovalev were the main pair of defenders in the First League. We had a very small break between seasons, especially considering that we finished two weeks later than the Premier League. Changing the pattern in such a short time is very difficult, and we could only destroy what good things we had. So we decided to leave it as it is. We had certain losses - the team leaders Boris and Hryhorii Barantsov left the team. We tried to replace them and partially succeeded. At the same time we are happy with the selection. We are moving on.
- What qualities did you plan to employ in order not to lose? How much did an early goal influence the psychological state of your players?
- I have already mentioned these qualities briefly - we have built a defensive play, trying to counterattack. Shakhtar adopted and changed their game very well, not letting us leave our area, employing great tackling and pressure. Of course, an early goal is always a little unsettling. Loss of the ball in the centre field and a swift counter by Shakhtar resulted in us conceding. Naturally, the boys were worried, there was disquiet. A new stadium, a different atmosphere - everything different. Trust me, the difference between the First League and the Premier League is enormous in everything. In terms of organization, in all elements there is a huge gap. Of course, the guys were a little anxious. But it doesn't matter, this is also a great experience.
- Is the club ready for the Premier League test?
- We came to this gradually. Our president Maksym Berezkin has managed the club for about five years, and a lot had been done as of today. We have a completely renovated stadium and scoreboard, the pitch and the training pitch. In this regard, we are developing. Zirka is a club with great traditions, and though the current leaders have not been here so long, the progress over this period is evident. We created our own academy, which operates, playing in the DUFL (Youth) Premier League. So we are "fueling" the team with our own students. I think everything is still ahead for us, we are at the initial stage of development.