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Fonseca: Winning it will mean a lot

Wednesday, October 19, 2016



Pre-match press conference of Shakhtar head coach

- Good evening. Can we say that tomorrow you are meeting with the strongest contenders this season, apart from Dynamo?
- Good afternoon. Of course. That's true. Not mentioning Dynamo Kyiv, Gent are our toughest opponents of this season at the moment. The team feature a huge number of good players. In Belgium, they have a very strong league, with Gent ranking among the leaders. We also understand that we will have some difficulties because of the opponents' formation, which is different from the one used by our previous opponents. So I fully agree with your question. For us at the moment, these opponents are the toughest.

- Gent have two towering strikers: Coulibaly - 197 cm tall, and Kujović – 194 cm. This fact means that tomorrow we will almost certainly see Ordets? Still, he is the tallest among Shakhtar defenders...
- I want to repeat what I have already said in my flash interview to Futbol 1 channel. We all know that Ordets currently showcases some excellent performance both at Shakhtar and Ukraine national team. There was every indication that he would take to the pitch tomorrow, including the fact that Rakitskyy has been training with us for just a few days now. But yesterday, Ivan fell ill - he did not even come with us here for the training session. Therefore, we still have some doubts about his tomorrow’s appearance.

- Seleznov and Kryvtsov have not arrived here with you. For what reason? And what other personnel losses have you got, besides Ordets and those two players?
- Kryvtsov felt pain in the muscles early this week. For some time, he will not be able to train. Similarly, Seleznov got a back injury yesterday at the end of the session, so he didn’t fly here with us.

- Paulo, this season Gent have been very well performing at home and just poorly away. Do you agree to the fact that tomorrow you are actually facing the game for the top spot in the group?
- I haven’t seen all of Gent’s games. I do not think there is much difference between their home and away games. Their ideas do not differ. This is the team who always want to dominate possession. What I can see is that Gent claim top spots in the Belgian league and have not suffered a single Europa League defeat yet. Clearly, it will be the game between two strongest members of the group. Winning it will mean a lot for any of the opponents. And I'm really looking forward to lady luck shining on us tomorrow.

- Given the team's personnel issues, are you going through the most difficult time now? Does this affect Shakhtar’s actual being the major club represented in Ukraine national team?
- Talking about the national team, the club and I are just brimming with pride. It cannot but please us. We can see that the players step up their performance with us, that they have been playing increasingly better. When we watch a game of Ukraine national team, we see that most of the players come from Shakhtar. Speaking about the absence of some guys, I'm not the kind of individual who uses it as an excuse. Many times the team rpoves themselves when someone was unable to play. We must rely on the players who are currently with us, to trust them at the moment. And we shouldn’t look for any excuse, because it will take us nowhere.

- Yesterday, the coach of Benfica said that he had seen you games against Dynamo, that he enjoyed watching it, being impressed with your work in Ukraine. Are you going to watch the Dynamo – Benfica match tonight? Which side will you root for?
- He said so because he’s my friend. I paid for his dinner for him to say that! Of course, I am pleased with nice words like that. And, of course, I will watch the match tonight.

- Shakhtar and Gent are leaders in their domestic leagues and in group H. What would you wish the Lviv fans?
- What I want to say about that? Those who really love football and the meetings between strong teams, I think, will find an opportunity to come to the stadium. Tomorrow you will see the two rivals, who like dominating it and taking the initiative. I think that there won’t be such thing that only one team will defend, with the other attacking. Tomorrow will be an open game. And a man who understands that and loves football will really enjoy it here. Of course, I'd like to see in the stands as many people as possible to support us. I believe in the fact that before the start of the match, many more people will attend the ticket office and buy tickets. We want that.

- Of course, you are not going to disclose the starting line-up to us now. But the presence of Maksym Malyshev means that you have already found a solution to the issue of Fred’s suspension? And just another detail: will it be Butko or Srna?
- Basically, I can name the starting line-up, but I will make you think. There is nothing to hide, it’s true that Max will play tomorrow. And Srna too. Malyshev is now here not because tomorrow he will be fielded, but because I have decided to bring here a nice player who would attract more people to attend our match tomorrow!

You can buy tickets for this match at the Arena Lviv ticket office, online on shakhtar.com and partner sites (kasa.in.uainternet-bilet.uaesport.in.uatickethunt.net).