Decisions have been made

Tuesday, September 17, 2019



Shakhtar manager Luis Castro spoke about the match vs Manchester City, Taison's availability, Guardiola, and the squads

- In Ukraine, there is such a football belief: the winning squad should not be changed. You were absent from the match against Zorya. Are you tempted to watch tomorrow's game on TV?
- Before my absence, we were also winning, and on Saturday my assistant was present - he also won. So we can make such replacements – that’s not an issue at all. Speaking about the encounter with Manchester City, we will not analyze the distance we covered in the Championship. The upcoming match will be more difficult, and we must tune in to it in the best way.
- How do you feel now?
- Unfortunately, I missed a week of training and the previous match due to minor health issues. Thank God, everything’s fine with me now. Many thanks to the doctors: the doctors tried to do literally everything for me to feel better as quickly as possible.
- What’s Taison’s current form? Will he be able to play?
- The problem has been fully resolved. He's ready. Tomorrow, you will see him on the field. We are relying on Taison just as on the rest of players.
- How do you feel about the fact that once again the team are not playing in Donetsk?
- There are some factors that simply cannot be changed. Of course, looking back into the past, Shakhtar’s every game at the Donbass Arena was attended by an average of 35 thousand fans. We have a great stadium! There was a great atmosphere and there were many of our fans. Here, of course, the stadium is not filled like that. Nevertheless, we know that people continue supporting even far away. Of course, we would like to play in our homeland, in Donetsk, but there are things that we cannot change. Presently, we have a training base in Kyiv, and we hold home games in Kharkiv. This is life - we need to try to cope with that.
- We asked Guardiola about what he knows about Luis Castro. He replied that he is personally acquainted with you, but he watched the games, and he really liked them. And what does Luis Castro think of Josep Guardiola?
- I know what the whole world knows: he is one of the best coaches in the world working at one of the best clubs in the world. In the best league on the planet. His level? It's no secret to anyone - the highest a coach can have.
- One of the main characters in tomorrow's match is Oleksandr Zinchenko, who formerly was a Shakhtar player. Given the preparation for the game, how important is his role, according to you? Is he already the best left-back at City, or is he just on the way to that so far?
- He’s a player who performs very important functions for the team. Zinchenko is a fullback with very specific attributes. He is not responsible for the flank that often, getting more inside, also being one of those who helps to change the attacking flank. There’s Sterling before him, who links up when necessary, as well as David Silva and De Bruyne. He’s a very interesting football player and, of course, one of the top players in the world in his role. He has some great interplay with Sterling.
- Have you already decided on the starting lineup?
- Yes, all decisions have been made.
- Luis, this season you tried different variations of the centreback pairing, deploying Khocholava, Kryvtsov, Matviienko, and Bondar. For what reason have Bondar and Matvienko never played together?
- Behind some football players, there are always others who will one day become the new Shakhtar. When this happens, other guys will follow them - they will also begin to prepare to be part of this team. Bondar is now at a certain stage, when, in principle, it’s already possible to use him in the line-up. However, we still continue practising things, to bring this footballer to optimum form. And not only him - Marcos Antonio, Sikan, Solomon, Tete, Cipriano, Dodo, Trubin, Vitao ... When we see that they are fully ready, then we can field them together. At the moment, I field Kryvtsov and Matviienko - this is a stronger bond performance wise. However, absolutely all the guys work in one given direction. Sikan, Dodo, Cipriano, Marcos Antonio, and Bondar - we fielded each of them. All of them gradually develop and integrate into play.
- Under your leadership, Shakhtar held eight competitive games taking into account the meeting with Zorya. Guardiola played against the Miners 11 times. Don't you think that he knows your team a little better?
- No, to know them means to train them every day, and not just playing them on a few occasions. Some people think that after watching one match, you already know the team and all the players. But that’s not true - in fact, in daily training work, footballers are seen in a completely different way. So, I still know my Shakhtar better. By the way, there is another wonderful positive fact: Pyatov has played Guardiola nine times already, so he has already given me all the necessary information that was missing!
- As you know, Pep Guardiola selects the players depending on the strength of the opponents. You said that you had already decided on the lineup. But you assume that De Bruyne and Sterling will appear. What if they won’t? That is, you are going to play depending on your own players, and not on the opponents?
- I was sick for eight days, so I had enough time to think about everything! Talking seriously, the squad is not born in a day - the team is shaping up for quite a while. I think that any coach, even a beginner, early on his job, has at least a rough idea of his main, dream team. This is exactly what we want to see. During the season, someone may get injured, which will entail manor changes, but in 80% of cases, we will still get back to the initial lineup. If we do not plan anything, that is bad - many people suffer from that in life. Suppose, at the beginning of the season, Guardiola plans to field the following lineup: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Rodri, David Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero, Bernardo Silva. Will anything change significantly during the season? In general, it won’t, about 80% of the lineup will be the same. Isn’t it so?