Mircea Lucescu: We take risks playing vs Vorskla without internationals

Head coach of Shakhtar responded to questions from journalists before the match against Poltava.

- Mister, who will play at the challenging position – at the centre of defence?
- We're few. All the players available will be getting prepared for the Cup game. In this particular case, it will not be considered whether they are defenders, midfielders or strikers - when the players know what to do on the football field, their role does not really matter. I’ve just had a word with them on this matter. We are facing a very important match. We will face one of the best teams of the Ukrainian league. I am sure that after losing 0-4 and 1-3, the opponents will be more than motivated. And it will be a kind of test for those players who have played less. Some of them will have to play for 90 minutes as we have very few substitution players. We didn’t have enough spare days to play this match. And we take risks playing without the internationals who have left now.

- Darijo Srna got injured in the Croatia national team game...
- That’s a minor issue, everything’s fine.

- We also know that Mykola Matvienko got injured.
- He will not take part in this game.

- Can you comment on the situation with Fred? They said that his suspension may be extended. Where is he now?
- Now I cannot comment on that. At the moment we are waiting for WADA’s decisions and so on. Let's see what this protest results in. My opinion is as follows: KOMNEBOL must have well analyzed it all during the six months before passing a verdict. Therefore, I believe that their decision is the most appropriate. Attempts to change it are based on something else.

- Shakhtar have been fighting on three fronts. Will you sacrifice anything for something else?
- We are a professional football team having top players. They get good money for their work. I'm sure they can decently perform in all three competitions. A lot will depend on how well they get focused in each of the following matches. We did not do that in the game against Dnipro and brought the league title into question.

- Mister, could you tell us about the health of Yaroslav Rakits’kyy.
- We have developed a special programme for him to follow. And we all, of course, wish Rakits’kyy to recover by the game against Braga.

- Since the Kryvtsov-Ordets duo seems to have no alternative, do you have confidence in them?
- Maybe we will find another option, we’ll see. I have not lost confidence in those players. Although I can say that when each of them acted in tandem with Kucher or Rakits’kyy, they looked very good. When Kryvtsov and Ordets played together, unfortunately, their performances were not up to the mark and they did not look confident enough. Therefore I want them before the encounter with Braga to perfectly understand and complement each other on the field. The upcoming match can help them in this regard.

- Do you plan to personally fly to Portugal to have a look at Braga before the games vs Shakhtar?
- I do not think this will be possible. We have other staff to watch them, and I believe in those who study and analyze the opponents’games. Well, naturally, I will watch at least four or five games of Braga.

- The Europa League draw has been quite favourable for Shakhtar...
- Braga are a good team. The opinion of journalists is not quite correct. Braga are far from Ukraine, three thousand kilometres away, and journalists do not really follow them. By and large, they are a Brazilian team, featuring nine players from that country. They are a very technical team. They don’t have a single graduate of their own school, though they have the players who used to play for four or five teams in Portugal, that is, they have some huge experience. Braga showcases spectacular football of attacking nature. It’s not for nothing that they rank third or fourth in Portugal. For many years they have been taking part in European competitions, if you remember, they played in the Europa League final. They are just as strong a team as Villarreal, Atletico and Seville, which we never got. Therefore, I would not say that we were lucky with the draw. We just have to play and advance further. I said even before the draw that I was not particularly concerned with our next stage opponents.