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Mircea Lucescu: They like Shakhtar in all corners of the country

Saturday, May 7, 2016



Shakhtar head coach answered the questions from journalists

- The team had a tough match against Sevilla. In what physical and psychological state do Shakhtar approach the game against Karpaty?
- We’ve just covered this topic with the guys. We’ve analysed our European competitions run. I have highlighted the performance qualities, which the team demonstrated even against stronger opponents in the Champions League - PSG and Real Madrid. But we also made some childish erros, which is related, rather, to the lack of experience of some players, but not with the quality of our performance in those games. The same penalties they scored against us in the match vs Real Madird, sending Stepanenko off... Nice ending of home game vs Real Madrid, when we didn’t fear it any longer, when we had no worries - we scored three goals in a row. It’s not that easy to score three goals against Real Madrid! Thus we have shown that Shakhtar can play at any level against any teams. The same thing happened with PSG: they scored goals after we were off side in midfield, which is unusual for our team as we never played like that. In Paris, we also played on an equal footing, until, yet again, we made an error, with the opponents punishing us for that. In the Europa League we played very decently both result and image wise. I congratulated the guys on that and asked them to retain the same composure for all the remaining games. I reminded them the way we covered this season, the difficult way! I did not forget to note the fact that we lost six major players, with other footballers replacing them. They quickly rose to the level of those players who had left the team. I would like to thank our president for the efforts he made during all this period to ensure that the team remain at the highest level of European football. As well as for the fulfilled transfers and for the conditions in which Shakhtar lived. In comparison with the presidents of other football clubs, some of which, by and large, have turned away from the teams, our president has constantly kept the symbol of Ukraine up to the mark. With Shakhtar being just like that! I would like to make one remark. I did not like the way they treated us after the game vs Dynamo – I mean a group of officials, certain other people. Some of them went as far as demanding that some Shakhtar players don’t play for the national team. They forget, perhaps, that Shakhtar is one of the few components of the country’s international image, which connects Ukraine and Donbas. We are the team that people like in all corners of Ukraine. It doesn’t matter whether they are Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, Moldavians, Bulgarians, Tatars – they all form the people of Ukraine, with Shakhtar representing this country. So I was very surprised by some of the statements. In such a complex political environment, when Donetsk has no airport, no roads, no trains going there and, at the same time, there are big problems at checkpoints within the same country, Shakhtar have been doing their best to combine those two pieces of one single Ukraine. Therefore I was displeased while reading such statements and comments. I am sure that they have affected our game against Sevilla. The foreign press have always supported their teams, their players, interpreting everything only in their favour. Meanwhile, we, playing an important semi-final against Sevilla, were faced with a variety of critical and incorrect statements made with great anger and bringing us pain. I wish that everyone assesses the performance, nothing more than that. It is sad and I am sorry about the things that happened at the end of the match against Dynamo both on and off the pitch. I will do everything possible to make sure that the incident will not affect in any way the atmosphere in the national team and Ukraine's performance at the European Championships. The players should take to the pitch just as brothers, to fight for the colours of their country, respect and even, perhaps, appreciate one another. The only things that could make Ukraine the same as it used to be, are peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and appreciation. Without the above-mentioned components, it is difficult to create anything. Otherwise, the war will continue. That’s something that hurt me deep at heart. So I’ve shared it with you... Now about football: we must forget everything that happened in the previous game. The rivalry will always be there. A sport is rivalry. Everyone wants to win, everyone wants to defeat others. But we need to correctly approach those situations and correctly interpret them, rather than add oil to fire.

- What is your attitude to the decision of the FFU CDC regarding Kucer’s bring suspended for three games?
- They just gathered and decided so. I do not want to comment on it. I think the CDC have done everything to ensure that it is quickly forgotten and everything gets back on track. I am pleased with the fact that in the heat of competition, we have created two teams: the current team, and the team of young players that Shakhtar will have in the future, making the club famous for a long time. The young players adapt to our philosophy, including the philosophy of our president. They adapt to our training methods, disciplinary and ethical requirements. Any player coming to Shakhtar, should be patient: having a year or two to understand everything. Of course, the Ukrainians undergo that process faster, for example, Kovalenko, Malyshev, Ordets. Those, in turn, who come from the countries with a different culture, need some time. Those are Bernard, Nem, Ferreyra, Dentinho, Ismaily. They have just now risen to the level of the rest of players. Now, I think, they will keep under pressure those players who spent more time on the field. In general, I believe, it was a good year, being a great lesson for all. Shakhtar has shown how to survive in the toughest conditions.