Fonseca: We think about the Champions League only

Monday, July 25, 2016



Press conference of Shakhtar head coach before the meeting with Young Boys

- Paulo, what is the personnel situation at Shakhtar at the moment? Who is injured and will miss the match?
- First of all, let me greet you. Fortunately, currently we have no injured players except Shevchuk, who has not even flown here with us.

- We have already seen Shakhtar in the Super Cup and the Ukrainian League. And what the team will be like in Europe?
- Basically, we will not be very different from the two games. We will be a very ambitious team in an important tournament against the strong opponents. We will need to concentrate 100 per cent to win this encounter. Clearly, our main ambition and goal is winning those two legs. I think the players have the same goal, we are working to achieve one thing.

- We already know that you do not like to talk about the players individually and do not pay any attention to the names. Anyway, such a player as Yaroslav Rakits’kyy has not been put on the match roster twice in a row. What’s the situation around him?
- In fact, there is absolutely no conflict with Rakits’kyy. It's just my choice. As you know, some of the players came to the training camp a bit later due to their international duty. There were other players who started working with us from day one, from the beginning, so they better understand my ideas. Our style of play has changed. I’ve got no shade of a doubt that both Rakits’kyy, as well as the other guys, who currently do not take to the pitch, will understand over time everything we want from them, so they will also have the possibility to play. You must understand: I’ve got no personal issues with Rakits’kyy, just as with any other player. The football rules haven’t been changed: only 11 players can stay on the pitch, therefore we act like that so far. You know, they often ask me about the footballers who do not play. No one wants to ask about those playing. There is absolutely no problem. I think the guys who play show the perfect answer.

- After being suspended, Fred demonstrates some great performance. Can we call him Shakhtar leader at the moment, according to you?
- Leaders are all of us. The main leader is always the team. I have already said several times that there is no one above the team. However, Fred, as well as all the other players, shows excellent results. That’s exactly what we seek. He, just like any other football player, needs to understand this: if you're not ready, there're always the guys who can easily replace you. What do I mean by this? We have a very balanced list of players. The guys need to understand that they cannot get distracted, otherwise they risk being replaced. No one is irreplaceable.

- Shakhtar squad has already been formed, will you enter the autumn with it? Or we could expect some changes and acquisitions?
- The first change, perhaps, you will see tomorrow. Frankly speaking, I do not look that far into the future. I think only about tomorrow's match. But what pleases me is this: of all the players we have, I can choose any one. They all turn in some great performance, and I can’t but rejoice at the fact.

- Do you plan any acquisitions in general?
- I’ve mentioned time and again: we expect no major changes. I am fully happy with the current list of players.

- You analysed Young Boys. What are the Swiss side’s strengths and weaknesses that you can see?
- Basically, we had enough time to get to know Young Boys. Immediately after the draw, you all might think that they are not that tough a team. But we have already seen some of their matches. We have studied the opponents and can say quite the contrary: they are not easy opponents. Young Boys are a very strong team, especially physically, with certain attacking qualities which they never change, with the top-quality players in the attacking third. One hundred percent we are facing a very difficult game here. We do not believe it will be easy. The only thing remaining is to give our all to the game to win it.

- Do you think, given the team reshuffling, would it be better for them to play against strong opponents in the Champions League or against weaker ones in the Europa League?
- Basically, of course, it is better to play in the Champions League. No matter what teams we get. The Champions League is always more prestigious and attractive. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Europa League is also a quite prestigious and good tournament. But we are at the stage when we think only about the Champions League. The worst thing is probably playing in neither of them.