We’ve got enough experience

Monday, December 14, 2020



Shakhtar manager Luis Castro commented on the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 draw

- Maccabi advanced from the second spot in their group after Villarreal. At the moment in their league, they are sitting in the fifth spot, four points adrift of the leading team. But I never consider opponents by their position in the standings - that’s just stats. The only true thing is this: there are two matches ahead which we expect to be really tough. All that after the winter break. We will have a mid-season training camp to prepare for the second part of the Championship and for the Europa League, to rediscover our best form and come back ready for such matches. Maccabi are a tough side, but I think we will be tough for them as well.


- Have you ever met with any clubs from Israel?

- No, I’ve never played against them. I know that they have good footballers, for example, in the Nations League we saw an excellent team. And at the same time, they are not among the top five European sides. This may cause people to underestimate the opponents. But we’ve gained quite enough real life experience recently: in case of Real Madrid we felt that they didn’t take us seriously enough, and we won. I think we’ve got to approach our opponents very seriously to get past Maccabi.


- Maccabi will have 13 games before the meeting with Shakhtar.

- I know that. But last season the same thing happened, nevertheless we reached the semis. We’ve got to find a strategy for developing our team, to bring Shakhtar to a very high level. There is the Championship, the Cup and the Europa League, and well prepare in the best possible way. Yes, Maccabi will keep on playing. While for us, the vacation and training camp are crucial, and then well be really strong and have a great season.


- What are Shakhtar's Europa League goals?

- They are set in a clear way, at least in our heads. We, coaches, can often set some goals and make plans, but we never know what will come our way. What do we want? To advance to the next round by beating Maccabi. Planning something without knowing the opponents will be a really difficult exercise. Anyway, we’ve got that sweet and sour aftertaste after last season's European campaign. On the one hand, it was nice to reach the Europa League semifinals, but on the other hand, it was bad that we didn’t reach the final. We live amid those two feelings. Wed love to reach the very end. We will work knowing how difficult that is. Every team participating in the tournament want to reach the final.