Ismaily: Game against Vorskla will be a real battle

Shakhtar defender speaks about the upcoming Ukrainian Cup tie.

- Ismaily, can we call Vorskla troublesome opponents for Shakhtar? Given that in the first part of the league season, Poltava nicked points off you.
- Yes, they are the team that we always find tough to play. With the return of cup ties and the league games, we need to be most careful to avoid any unpleasant surprises in store for us.

- You have repeatedly met with Vorskla. What are this team's strengths?
- Vorskla have a lot of physically strong players, the team play very well defensively. I am sure that the game will be very difficult, we are facing a real battle. But we must win.

- After a confident Europa League victory over Schalke 04, won’t you have motivation issues in the Ukrainian Cup game?
- The cup, just as the league, is important to us. Therefore we are motivated enough. Of course, the match in Gelsenkirchen pleased us very much, with the victory becoming a kind of moral prize for the excellent work we did. Just like now: we need to work hard to achieve a positive result.

- Probably Vorskla will focus mainly on defence. Given the tough previous league match against them, what should Shakhtar focus upon?
- We are used to the fact that the opponents just drop deep. We’ll wait for counterattacks. It is important to be focused and attentive in every episode, because any of them could be the key one. The major thing for us is retaining the ball and trying to score an early goal. I think this will facilitate the general task.

- Several key players have left Vorskla this winter: Tursunov, Yanuzi... At the same time, the talented Dovhyi and Kolomoets joined the ranks of Poltava team, with the experienced Pavlo Habelok rejoining the team. How will this shift the balance?
- Let's just say that it’s hard to lose any players. But experience proves that there is always someone to replace the guys to have left. At Shakhtar, for example, the same thing happens. But this fact does not weaken our team in any sense. We should take into account the ambitions of Poltava, at the same time being even more ambitious than they are.