Darijo Srna: I want it to be a great final

Thursday, May 19, 2016



Shakhtar captain talks about preparation for the Ukrainian Cup final

- Darijo, does the 2-3 defeat add motivation before the encounter with Zorya?
- Of course, everyone understands that it’s the final. It will be a completely different game, a different attitude on the part of Shakhtar and Zorya. Probably, there will be some changes in the line-up. Let's see how many people come to the stadium. So far, we’ve got two thousand, maybe more will come... I want it to be a great final. The chances are 50 to 50. We really respect Zorya and their coach. They proved this season and last season that they deserve every respect and that they have a very good team.

- Do you keep in mind the fact that this might be Mister’s farewell game at Shakhtar?
- Well, you know, anything can happen. We don’t know anything yet, Mister did not communicate with us on this matter. When I get to know it, I will be able to say it. For the moment, we are fully focused on the Cup final. This trophy is very important to us in this situation.

- Darijo, how would you generally evaluate this season for Shakhtar?
- If we consider that we did it without our fans, without the home stadium and the city – the season is successful. But it will be even more successful when we get home. We did well and could do even better in the Champions League, being fully satisfied with our Europa League campaign. It’s a pity that we did not play in Basel yesterday. But this is football. We gave our all. We lost the league title due to losing points in ‘minor’ games. We are facing the Cup final. We will try to win this trophy.

- In a few days’ time, Shakhtar turns 80. What would you like to say to the Donetsk club’s fans?
- I already said that in two or three interviews, which will be shown on television.

- Maybe you associate the figure 80 with anything else?
- No, except for the anniversary, with nothing actually.

- How did you react to the scandals that have occurred in Ukrainian football lately? What is your take on it?
- I think that it wasn’t fair at all. It all started with the game against Dynamo: Kucher and Yarmolenko were punished unjustly. If we compare it to what Zozulya and Rotan got, of course, that’s unfair either! It must be reviewed in general... That is, Kucher and Yarmolenko should get more.

- It is necessary to reconsider the punishment for Yarmolenko and Kucher and make it tougher?
- I don’t know. There are people in the federation, people trust them. Of course, all the clubs want fair play. There are people who are well-versed in it and who perform their work - they should do it professionally. How can we call the things that have happened now? Just shameful.

- Darijo, all those are Ukraine players. How can you, as Croatia player...
- Everything will be fine! As for the pitch and training sessions, I am more than one hundred percent sure that Shakhtar players will give their all for their country. Ukraine national team should be more important than anyone else – more than Yarmolenko, Kucher and Zozulya... So I think that they all will gather together. And I want the federation to make the right conclusions and be professional.

- Darijo, Shakhtar allowed those on loan to play in the final, but, basically, you have ensured a rather difficult match. Was it worth doing so? Were it not for those on loan, the trophy would be virtually in your pocket. Who of those guys would you highlight? Who can strengthen Shakhtar next season?
- Those lads deserve to play in the final! You know, to fight all season long for the final, and not to be allowed to play now... That’s not the right thing to do from a professional point of view. They are also humans and footballers. We must be confident. I said: there is no favourite! I really respect Zorya, they have a very strong coach. As for our players, they all have shown and still showcase that they can be relied upon in the future even at Shakhtar. The same Budkovskyy, who scored 14 league goals, Petryak, Totovytskyi who netted three goals against us, even four, as well as against Dnipro in the cup. The goalkeeper Shevchenko, Karavayev... They all are good players deserving every respect. I fully approve of the fact that the club has allowed them to play.

- Is the final in Lviv at the Arena Lviv a plus for Shakhtar?
- If we enjoy a capacity crowd, it will be a plus for both Shakhtar and Zorya. If just few people come – it will be a failure. It will be a shame.

- How did they react in the team to the return of Yevhen Seleznyov? Still, playing for Dnipro over the recent years, he considerably wrecked your nerves in the head-to-head meetings.
- That’s why he is here. I want to see at Shakhtar the Seleznyov I saw at Dnipro. And I am sure that he will be helpful to the team.