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Fonseca: Olimpik conduct league season excellently

Wednesday, March 15, 2017



Shakhtar head coach answered questions from journalists during an open training session

- Paulo, is Olimpik for you the main sensation of the Ukrainian league, given the club's budget, salaries, its place in the table and style of play?
- A good team, the only one, except Dynamo, who took points away from us. This is a quality team who conduct the league season excellently. We are expecting a difficult match against Olimpik.

- After the meeting with Vorskla, they called your opponents Donetsk-based Barcelona. How do you like this opinion?
- That’s a risky comparison. I think it's very difficult to compare Barcelona with any team in the world. Nevertheless, I perfectly understand it, because Olimpik played an excellent match and performs well enough in the championship, and therefore they deserve some comparison.

- Will you further continue fielding Stepanenko in a pairing with Kovalenko instead of Malyshev?
- Honestly speaking, I haven’t made a decision yet. It’s clear that Stepanenko will stay in midfield, but I haven’t decided on Kovalenko and Malyshev yet.

- The first part of the league season is coming to an end. At the second stage, the top six sides will hold matches between themselves. Do you plan to make adjustments to the team's training process in this regard?
- No, I don’t. Today our work brings us success, so we will not change anything. You’ve correctly noted: the strongest remain in the group. The toughest encounters are ahead, but this will not affect our strategy in any way, as well as the performance and training process.

- How successful was the adaptation of Blanco Leschuk in the team? Are you satisfied with his first appearances or were you expecting a little more?
- In my opinion, he is perfectly adapting. Do not forget that Gustavo has been at Shakhtar not for long at all. He still needs some time to get used to our playing style. Even in the previous meeting with Zorya he scored a goal, which, unfortunately, was unruled. In general, I am very pleased with Blanco Leschuk’s performance.

- How do you plan to fill the pause in the league season?
- Just like before today. Fortunately, a large number of Shakhtar players have been called to the national team of Ukraine. The club will have very few players, and we will continue to work with them throughout this period. I am very happy with the fact that many of our players have been invited to the national team. It delights me.

- Won’t there be any friendlies?
- Nope, just as always.

- How did you spend your first birthday in Ukraine?
- As usual. It was a match day. I had the right to have some cake at the stadium and get some presents from the players. But, of course, my biggest present was our victory. So it was a great birthday!

- What does being 16 points ahead of Dynamo mean to you?
- For us it means absolutely nothing. We set ourselves a great goal and try to achieve it. We highly respect Dynamo and all the other opponents, so we never pay attention to our lead in terms of points. Our goal is always the next meeting. In this particular case, it’s the meeting with Olimpik - we are preparing for it.

- In some countries at the second stage, the points are divided in half, reducing the gap by half. Would you like that?
- Of course I wouldn’t. Why divide the points earned? That’s wrong and unfair. By the way, I can’t remember a single league at the moment, where they did so.

- It used to be so in Belgium.
- Before? But not now? Probably, for some reason they don’t do it. Currently, in major European leagues, I do not see anyone doing that. It would be very unfair.

- Are you satisfied with the league format?
- Yes.

- The club CEO has offered the new format option. Did you get into it?
- Those are the issues that are still being considered and studied. I think this will continue. I like justice and will support any format of the league, if only everything is fair and equality of all the clubs is respected. To do so, they need to study some details: the fields issue, one type of ball in the league... Perhaps this is not that important for you, but the teams would like to play all matches using one ball. Many things in football can be reviewed and changed. Let's say the reserves could play in the First League - it would be much better for the guys, more competition. I think that Ukrainian football can be improved. There is a potential. If I’m not mistaken, there are 42 million people in Ukraine. There are people – you can improve something every day. And to finish my reasoning on this topic, I also want to say that you could study the issue and try to bring as many fans to the stadium as possible. Football is a kind of festival, we must invite people to it so that they get a great pleasure from the spectacle.

- Shakhtar’s training session was attended by Raul Riancho. What did you talk about, what did he mention?
- There were usual conversations between the people who communicate well. Clearly, most of the time we talked about the football players, as well as about the connection between Shakhtar and the Football Federation of Ukraine.

- Will you watch the match in Croatia?
- I will. Of course I won’t go to Croatia, but I'll watch the game.