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Taras Stepanenko: Our team is in excellent form

Wednesday, May 4, 2016



Shakhtar midfielder took part in a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final return game

- Taras, even before the Cup tie against Oleksandriya, your teammates said that at the end of the season, when the games frequency is so great, you should be charged both physically and emotionally. Do you agree with that?
- When the results are good, you can tune in for it mentally and psychologically. Therefore, I reckon, the team have come for this match having the excellent form and mood.

- You scored against Sevilla and assisted in the match vs Dynamo. Can we expect any productive action from you tomorrow?
- Our every player is focused on the team's victory. Everyone is focused on the result, but who assists or scores is not that important. Because everyone on the field fulfills what we agree upon and what the coach tells us. Everyone will do what they should do. And then, God grant, we will score, no matter who does it.

- Spanish players do not like it when it’s raining, with a rainfall forecast for tomorrow. How hard will Shakhtar find it in this kind of weather?
- Let's see on the match day what kind of weather it will be. A professional footballer should play in all weather conditions. Rain will not particularly affect the Spanish players. They also want to win, so tomorrow will be a serious match.

- Mister has repeatedly said that Shakhtar are not able to win the Europa League title. Do the team feel the strength to win this competition?
- When you reach the semi-final of this big tournament, of course, each player and coach have the idea that they should go to the end and try to do everything possible to win the trophy. We will take the field tomorrow with this kind of mood. We have nothing to lose, we can only gain something.

- You are to play one of the most important matches of the season. Have you managed to recover psychologically after the well-known events in the meeting with Dynamo?
- It's okay, we’ve been getting prepared for the encounter. It was an unpleasant situation, however we must be able to reject all the negative things accumulating around us. Preparing for the match is the most important thing. I hope that the things that happened in the match against Dynamo, would not affect tomorrow's game.

- What was your major focus while preparing for the second leg?
- In the first match against Sevilla, we made mistakes in the situations which Mister had paid special attention to before the match. It’s about the way the Spaniards build their game. And so it happened. Therefore, we analysed the first leg, and once again put emphasis on those aspects. I hope that tomorrow we will manage to neutralize those strengths of Sevilla.