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Mircea Lucescu: Most important thing is ability to foresee future

Wednesday, May 11, 2016



Press conference by Shakhtar head coach after the game vs Oleksandriya

- It was very important to reach the final today. We did it. We played against the team who played defensively in a well-organised manner. For 90 minutes Oleksandriya were waiting for our mistake or some set piece, after which they would score. In the first half, we had four or five scoring chances, but we never converted them. I think that today the field was not quite top quality. In the second half, there were many moves near the opposition penalty area, but, unfortunately, they were not always effective. The 2-0 scoreline perfectly reflects the developments on the football pitch. The second goal was scored owing to Nem, who persistently burst into the box of Oleksandriya. He showed a great will to score, and it worked.

- Throughout the game, there was a close 1-0 score. Any mistake could have resulted into the game going into overtime. What prevented you from winning this meeting in an easier way, from netting the second one? Didn’t you fear the aggregate score at 1-0?
- At half-time, I criticised my lads for their irresponsible attitude to the chances we created in the first half. After ten opening minutes, the score should have been 3-0. I am pleased with the fact that both goals were scored by young guys. Both of them are very aggressive. They penetrated the box just on time and sent it home.

- Why did Kovalenko wear the captain’s armband today, with Srna being also present on the pitch? And second thing: will the semi-final feature the players of Shakhtar who are on loan to Zorya?
- As regards the first part of your question, one thing is clear: we have just one captain – Darijo Srna. In recent games, we gave the band to Stepanenko, Malyshev and Kovalenko. They are the future of Shakhtar, perhaps, for many more years. Alongside the players who come here, prove themselves and then go away sonewhere. They will probably benefit Shakhtar and the national team for a long time. My coaching experience prompts me that. When I coached Korvinul, I was 36 years old, and I was still playing, with the 18-year-old Klein being appointed the team captain, who later made 90 appearances for the national team. Being Romania coach, I made Hadji the captain, who was already 19 at the time. Then he became the best footballer of Romania, playing for such top clubs as Real Madrid and Barcelona. Similarly, at Dinamo Bucuresti, I appointed captain the 19-year-old Ioan Lupescu, who later played for many years for Bayer Leverkusen, also won 80 caps for Romania, currently heading the technical committee of UEFA. The band gives more responsibility to anyone who wears it, and it helps them grow. Srna was also young when I appointed him the captain. One needs to foresee what might happen in the future. One of the philosophers said that the most important thing in an individual is the ability to foresee the future. As for the second part of your question - we'll see. I would like everyone to participate in the final. Naturally, they deserved it. But this is a double-edged sword. If they play poorly, people will say that it’s because they are Shakhtar players. If they play very well and aggressively, while one of our players gets injured, they will criticise us, just like they blamed Danchenko, who harshly fouled upon our player in the game against Chornomorets. Besides, last year, Malyshev challenged Stepanenko in a very harsh manner. So we will see. My opinion today is as follows: I want them to play. And now, I want to congratulate them on advancing to the final.