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Fonseca: It's hard to pick the starting line-up

Friday, July 14, 2017



Shakhtar head coach gave an interview to the media at the open training session

- Paulo, you haven’t won the Ukrainian Super Cup yet. What are your expectations for the upcoming match?
- Right, last year in Odesa we lost the penalty shoot-out. That’s another competition we want to win. Everyone understands that we are to meet the very tough opponents. Dynamo have a new coach and new ideas – I suppose the players are super-motivated in this regard. Last year, Shakhtar won the league and the Ukrainian Cup, so the Kyivans will absolutely want to take revenge. I think the game will be balanced. Any side can win. And we are aware that the Miners must deliver a performance of the topmost level to win the trophy on Saturday.

- You haven’t met Oleksandr Khatskevych yet. What are the strengths of this coach? Did you watch his teams’ games?
- I watched Dynamo’s training camp friendlies. They already had the new mentor’s ideas. I noticed the difference between that and the play of Serhii Rebrov, but in no case do I say which is better or worse. The ideas have really changed a bit. I don’t know Khatskevych’s work well, thus I can’t say much. But if Dynamo selected him, then he’s a strong coach with great qualities. I’ll be able to say more about his work in a few rounds.

- Among the Miners to have left in pre-season, only Kucher could be called a consistently regular player. Have you decided who will form a pairing with Rakits’kyy?
- There’s a very big balance at Shakhtar. We have a lot of players who can take that position. Kryvtsov and Ordets showed themselves worthily. Khocholava, the player with great potential, has joined us. Now he is trying to learn our game as much as possible, and, I think, he will also be an excellent alternative in the near future.

- Last year, Petriak went on loan to Zorya, and this time you have kept him. Has Ivan stepped it up over the season or the situation in the team as a whole has changed?
- When I arrived, Petriak was still training with us. So I know this player very well. The question was that with the existing competition in view, Ivan would find it difficult to play on a regular basis. That's why we loaned him out to Zorya. Over this year he’s undoubtedly improved, he’s become better. He’s been with us now. Today Petryak is more prepared, and if we find it necessary to field him in the line-up, he will play.

- Is everyone in the ranks ahead of the Super Cup tie?
- Thank God, we have no injured players. Everyone is ready and motivated. It's hard for me to choose between the guys in terms of who will be fielded in the starting line-up. However, it’s important that everyone is available and we can rely on any of them.

- After loaning out Boriachuk, you have two similar strikers left. Won’t this be a problem? For example, Dynamo have five forwards preparing for the season.
- Boriachuk had few opportunities to play in our team. I figured that Andrii has the right age for proving himself on the pitch. That’s just fundamental fro him. Speaking about the strikers, we shouldn’t forget about Dentinho –
he trained and had that role many times. This could be a good solution in the future.
- Yesterday, Dynamo also conducted an open training session: the players were practising penalty shoot-out strikes very carefully hinting that it could come in handy in the Super Cup decider. In his time, Mircea Lucescu said that they didn’t need to practise those spot kicks, because that’s not a matter of skill, but rather of psychology. What do you make of it?
- If the outcome can be decided in a penalty shoot-out, I think they need to be honed. At least in order to give some confidence to those who perform them, as well as to the goalkeepers. I think we shouldn’t separate psychological and technical sides. I really respect hard work. If something is practised, then it will improve. Once a penalty shoot-out happens, we must practise it, just like sending the ball out of bounds, a corner or a free kick. But I would also agree that the psychological aspect is of great importance. There are factors that influence a particular moment: pressure in the stadium, the need to strike ... And, of course, it’s absolutely impossible to prepare it.

- But are you ready for such development of events?
- I’m not, because I won’t be shooting. And the players are ready, yes.

- Are there any positions that you would like to strengthen? Do you plan any transfer before the transfer period ends?
- At the moment I think only about the guys on the field, and about the next match.

- Shakhtar is the base club for the national team. What do you make of its chances of qualifying for the World Cup?
- I think everything is very clear about that. Only victory is of interest to us. We all should continue to believe and root for the team, because Shevchenko is doing an excellent job. Everything depends on the players. While we need to support the national team and lead them only to victories. Every Ukrainian must be proud of the national team’s current performance, and come to the stadium next home game, please and support the players.