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Fonseca: There is no favourite

Wednesday, February 15, 2017



Press conference of the Pitmen’s head coach before the encounter in Vigo

- Head coach of Celta said that he fears Shakhtar with the ball more than Shakhtar on the counter. What kind of performance do you expect of the opponents?
- Hello. I can say only the best things about Celta. The Spaniards’ results this year speak for themselves: they turn in excellent performances and achieve great results. The matches against Real Madrid and Barcelona reveal their full force. We are expecting a really tough game. Celta are very experienced and aggressive, therefore, I believe, we will see a great encounter.

- Your team have not played any competitive games since December. What can Celta fans expect from Shakhtar tomorrow?
- I reckon we shouldn’t hide it, and talk about it instead. Clearly, Celta have certain advantage, because during our break the opponents have had 13 matches. They would have played even 14, had the meeting with Real Madrid not been postponed to a later date. However, all that time, we had also been preparing for an important meeting with Celta. We will try to show something we worked on during that period. Nevertheless, the opponents have that kind of advantage, and nobody is going to hide it.

- Who are the favourites, Celta or Shakhtar?
- I won’t say who are the favourites, as it makes no point. Celta and Shakhtar are two very strong teams. We will see two spectacular matches, where any side can advance further. There is no favourite in this case.

- We know that you have followed every match of Celta. Which team has surprised you more: the side beating Real Madrid or losing to Deportivo Alaves?
- Paying attention to the results makes no sense. I’ve watched nearly every game of Celta lately. We all perfectly know the Spaniards’ best qualities: aggressiveness, pace and strength on the counter. You can take the encounter with Athletico, in which they were defeated, but for us it is more important that the opponents always use their strengths. And we don’t need to watch the results at all.

- Does the fact of Stepanenko missing the match affect your plans? Who will replace him?
- Stepanenko doesn’t play, so someone else will appear. Tomorrow you will see who appears at his position.

- Paulo, it’s been your first mid-season training camp, and you haven’t got used to it yet. What does it feel like?
- Of course, this is not an advantage for us. It's a completely new experience for me. Of course, before tomorrow's game we are lacking the kind of playing pace we are used to. If we appeared being better prepared, having a few competitive games behind, it would be easier. However, our team has the motivation – that’s the most important thing. We are motivated not only for tomorrow's match, but also for the return one, because we want to advance in the Europa League as far as possible.

- It would be correct to say that the cold in Ukraine and two months without playing can a negative effect on the outcome?
- I hope that cold weather will be hardly an advantage for Celta. And the fact that we’ve arrived here after a break, of course, is not a plus.