Mircea Lucescu: It was a real fight for three points

Press conference of Shakhtar’s head coach after the match with Vorskla.

- It was a tough game. We are ready for this. My experience tells me that such moments happen and we need to be prepared for this. When there are two matches in three days with the same opponents, the games are very different in the Cup and the league. On the one hand, Vorskla are a very ambitious team, aggressive, motivated, who committed a lot of fouls. It is a good thing that no one has picked up an injury today. On the other hand, our team were relaxed. Probably, subconsciously, there was a 4-0 win achieved just three days ago. And, perhaps, we kept in mind the next match against Anderlecht. It was obvious that we were not as aggressive in individual battles as we should have been. The opponents won more challenges than we did. To our delight, Taison was in a very good shape in today’s game; he, by and large, brought the result in the match. He took much responsibility, demonstrating leadership qualities. Thanks to that, we won today. We tried the version for the next game with Kovalenko and Malyshev in the centre. We are thinking about this option. They are too young for such a responsible area. There are three days to decide on the squad. We’ll analyse today’s game and prepare well for Anderlecht. This is a very important match for us. As for today's meeting, three points which we have gained as well as the reaction of our players in the difficult moments were important. Bernard made an appearance after a long pause. Of course, at the moment he is not quite ready, because he has been training with the group only a week. But there is still time to recover and help us.

- Mister, was it better to play such a difficult game as today’s ahead of the match against Anderlecht, or an easy game one as a few days ago in Poltava?
- Vorskla are a very good team. In Poltava, there was not an easy match. I think that Vorskla are one of the top five teams in the league with a good coach, who streamlined the team game. He's got a group of players of high technical level! Everyone is physically ready without exceptions. Every year, the team are growing, they enjoy some financial stability. It was a good match in the league. This game was not a preparation for Anderlecht – it was a real fight for the three points.

- After the first goal the impression was that the team relaxed a little. Was it really so?
- I think that it didn’t happen after the goal, but in general - we took to the pitch relaxed. A goal is a merit of Darijo’s personal skills, not the team action. The team took to the field not as they should have done... In such league games, especially against such rivals, players should have different attitude.

- What was the substitution of Stepanenko connected with?  Is Ferreyra the first-choice forward now? And what is the situation like with Gladkyy?
- We will see. Maybe after tonight's game, there will be some changes in the squad. Therefore, I do not want to talk about it more specifically.

 
 

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