Castro fits our strategy

Wednesday, June 12, 2019



Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin speaks about changing the manager and the summer break

- What does the CEO feel when the situation changes kaleidoscopically and another manager arrives? How did all that happen?
- On the one hand, there are some worries, because we undertake certain responsibility while we invite another manager. Including responsibility towards the fans. It’s difficult to get used to new things. We worked with Paulo for three seasons, we know each other well, and we had sporting results. The fans are happy, everyone is happy. When everything changes dramatically, of course, there is discontent among fans. The coach left, it is not clear who comes next. Here comes a new man. Naturally, there is some preoccupation, responsibility for ensuring that everything works out, that everything gets better than it used to be. This is the major objective when you make that kind of decisions. And you know that, in fact, the news that Paulo is leaving came just a few days ago. A week ago, we met with the president, discussed plans for the next season with Fonseca. We agreed on everything, but then, literally in a few days, everything changes, turns over, and everything needs to be started over again. There is some excitement, bringing a lot of worries. The president said that such unrest is pleasant. I wonder how it develops. What kind of football the new manager will play. And this expectation also adds certain zest, especially for the fans it will be interesting to see how Luis Castro sees the team, their football, and our club.

- The president said that the club has long kept an eye on Castro and that he was the only candidate for the manager role. Why did you like Castro?
- First of all, he fits our philosophy. It is familiar and clear to everyone, we practise attacking football, beautiful football. Luis Castro plays that kind of football. At the same time, current trends are changing not only in attacking terms but also defensively. If earlier, for example, there were individual defensive actions, these days they are already zonal. The development of football is very fast, and Luis Castro is on the crest of a wave. He learns all the time, introducing new technologies, new knowledge. And one of the main factors is that he works very well with young people, he can very well introduce young people into a team. You know, we have a lot of young football players in the Academy, as well as the guys who joined the team. Ukraine U20 have reached the World Cup final, with five or six guys from our Academy playing there. We have a lot of great young people, it’s important for us that the new coach could introduce young people and work with them. This is consistent with our strategy. And Luis Castro today meets all the criteria that we have. Our objective is to find a manager who would stay with the club for many years, who would develop the club and make it increasingly stronger. Still, it's difficult to change a coach every season or once in two seasons. Each change of coach brings certain changes. God grant that those changes are for the better, not for the worse. Finding the coach is not easy.

- The club will earn money on Fonseca’s move. Will you pay anything to Vitoria for signing Luis Castro?
- Let's just say that we have certain agreements with Vitoria Guimaraes. We loaned Dodo out to them, under the terms of which the player had to play 70 percent of the games, but he slightly did not reach 70 percent, so they had to pay him a salary. But we agreed that we would not demand paying wages from them - the salary, by the way, is not very big. Therefore, we agreed on such terms and shook hands. Yesterday we signed a triple contract with Vitoria Guimaraes and Luis Castro.

- What are your plans for the off-season period? When will the team gather together again?
- The team are gathering on June 20, with the internationals arriving a few days later. We will spend a few days in Kyiv, at the base, undergoing standard procedures and a medical. Then, we will fly to Germany. Then there will be a training camp in Austria. In all training camps, we will have about seven friendlies. And one more extra test game: when Paulo moved to Roma, we agreed that Roma would come to Kharkiv for a friendly match. There is no specific date, but there are July and August. In this interval, we must agree. If we do not agree this season, we will hold it next season. But under the terms of terminating the contract with Paulo, one of the conditions is to play a friendly match. So, those seven friendly games may be followed by the eighth one, against Roma. This is interesting for the fans: our current coach, our former coach, with both of them having new teams. I think the stadium will be packed to watch this encounter.

- Do you already know who will join the coaching staff of Luis Castro?
- Yes, I do. We still have the goalkeeping coach who was one of Fonseca’s coaching staff. He expressed a desire to continue working at our club, we are happy about that. Luis Castro brings two assistants with him: a fitness coach and an analyst. That's the whole coaching staff.