Mariupol were strong offensively and defensively

Sunday, December 1, 2019

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FCSD

Shakhtar manager Luis Castro reflects on the draw with Mariupol

- Congratulations to Mariupol on their performance throughout the match. The opponents were strong offensively and defensively, causing us some difficulties. We scored the opener, controlled the play, failing to secure a two-goal lead though. On the heavy pitch, it was hard to display fast football which is habitual for our team. At the score of 1-1, we were still striving to score the second goal, however, after the 75th minute, Mariupol just parked the bus, with us not managing to rip open a single space between their back five. We tried to win to the end, but the hosts managed to secure a draw. And we let this happen.
  
- Have Shakhtar earned one point or lost two points today?
- We consider all matches just in terms of scoring and earning three points. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. When we fail to achieve the goal, we lose points.
 
- Do you think it’s the rotation that affected the teamwork and the outcome?
- Any team have some stronger line-up, which is absolutely normal. Of course, those 11 players are always on the coach’s mind. At the same time, we are simply obliged to resort to the rotation. What did we do? We replaced the central defenders. Patrick and Moraes were suspended. In fact, only two players were changed - there was no major rotation. This shouldn’t have affected the course of our play in any way. Now, the main thing is to understand why everything happened on the field like that. However, this is definitely not due to rotation. It’s normal when, after the Champions League match, the team are more tired, because the games there are very demanding. Over the short period left before the league game, it’s impossible to recover to our top form. And when you meet some opponents who are as determined to earn points as Mariupol today, sometimes this happens. It’s important to keep it to the point and understand that the opponents have also deserved what they were seeking.
  
- Perhaps your players kept in mind the responsible match against Atalanta?
- Nope, the guys have the opportunity to think about each match in turn. Everyone is used to playing in the Champions League and in the Championship, that’s normal. We understand that we cannot win every round throughout the competition. We know that we still lose points. Of course, I don’t like this, but such is the objective reality, it happens. It costs us a lot. It hurts. Thank God we are not used to that. We will go our own way. We are set up to achieve what we want at the end of the season.