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Stepanenko: Cup matches are a chance for Dnipro

Sunday, April 23, 2017



Shakhtar midfielder reflects on the victory over Dynamo and preparation for the cup game vs Dnipro

- Taras, what’s your impression of the match against Dynamo?
- We had a good meeting, we played confidently. In fact, we produced the result in the first half, and after the break we dropped back and tried to play on the counter. In general, Shakhtar did very well, with everyone helping each other. Dynamo created next to nothing near our goal, and, I believe, that’s the merit of the whole team. We played correctly and reliably defensively - Paulo Fonseca stressed.

- Out of the recent five league meetings against Dynamo, Shakhtar won four games. In what regard are the Pitmen stronger than the opponents?
- The team work very hard, and the results of our daily efforts are revealed on the pitch. Shakhtar have great respect for the Dynamo, with all our encounters always being rivalries. Of course, everyone is happy that at the moment the Pitmen dominate the confrontation with the major opponents. But, once again, we have great respect for Dynamo.

- The cup game against Dnipro is ahead. In two league meetings, Shakhtar netted six goals against them, without conceding a single one. What can you expect from the Premier League underdogs?
- Dnipro are a young team, but, I think, we are facing a difficult game, because the cup matches give the club a chance to compete for the second most important trophy in Ukraine. It’s necessary to get well prepared in order to prevent the situation vs Chornomorets. I am almost sure that we will dominate, and that Dnipro will operate defensively. They have some fast, technical players who can charge forward to counter-attack. We must use our chances, because the outcome of the match depends on that.

- Dnipro, having defeated Vorskla, also approach the meeting with Shakhtar in a good mood. Mikhailenko promises some surprises...
- Shakhtar are always focused on their play, regardless of the opponents’ actions. I do not know what surprises they can bring. Perhaps, they will change something tactically or make rotation of the squad. In any case, they will prepare and carefully analyse our team. We must show our play, concentrate on our principles of building both defensive and offensive actions. Taking advantage of the occasion, I want to invite all Shakhtar fans to the stadium. In Kharkiv, they always have a great atmosphere, people enjoy attending matches. The support of the stands is very important for us, because it motivates the players to give more to the game.