I want to succeed as a coach

Monday, May 18, 2020



Former Shakhtar midfielder, the 2009 UEFA Cup winner and current manager of the Polish Termalica Mariusz Lewandowski gave an exclusive interview to shakhtar.com

Lewandowski played for Shakhtar for 9 years, made 275 appearances and scored 30 goals. On May 18, Mariusz marks his 41st birthday. So we started the conversation with birthday greetings.

- Happy birthday, Mariusz! We wish you good health and all the best to you and your family on behalf of FC Shakhtar and all the fans. How are you doing in Poland? We’ve seen that Termalica have resumed training. Life’s taking its usual course?
- Thank you so much for the greetings! Right, about two months without football is a lot. It’s longer than the off-season. I think none of the coaches has ever experienced the situation when they’ve had a training camp, just started matches, and had to start another training camp virtually. We are glad to be getting back to the pitch bit by bit. We will play soon – we’ve got a game scheduled for June 2nd.
- Termalica is a young outfit. A good team? Is reaching the Ekstraklasa among your goals?
- We have a great president. The club is ready, with every condition available to play in the top flight. But first, we still need to show on the football field that from a sporting point of view we are ready for that. I’m facing a difficult task, but I’m not afraid of it and I believe that we can do it. In the first half of the season, the team lost many points. So it’s necessary to catch up with those in the lead.

- Do you often recall the time at Shakhtar?
- Yes, I do it often. Sometimes, I talk to the guys - Tomas Hubschman, Andriy Pyatov, someone else. Communication and good relationships - all that remains. We spent a long while at Shakhtar. We had both successes and defeats. I remember everything and follow the current developments. I want the team to return to Donetsk. It's a pity that it happened so. No one expected this to happen.

- Looking back, perhaps you wouldn’t change anything in your life and career?
- I would still move to Shakhtar where the best years of my football life have passed. The club has given me a lot and taught me a lot. We grew up as a team. And now, Shakhtar is developing further. Lewandowski isn’t there, but there are other guys who defend the colours of this team well. I follow the matches. Whenever possible, I attend the games in European competitions.

- Many of Lucescu’s former men have been mastering the coaching job themselves - you, Yezerskyi, Virt, Kobin. Shevchuk also has that kind of experience. Tymoshchuk, Duljaj, Srna work as assistants. Did Mister pass some great football knowledge to you? Did you adopt something from him?
- Of course I did, I remember the work of each coach, whether at Shakhtar or the national team of Poland. But when you play, you don’t notice that much. You are a footballer and just follow your coach’s orders. Now, being a coach myself, I remember how one or another manager acted. You can use some elements of their training. But you still need to have your own things. Each coach is an individual - it’s hard to copy someone.

- What kind of coach are you? Tough one? Or you compromise with the players, being ready to discuss everything, to learn their opinions?
- It's hard to talk about yourself. I’d put it like this: I’m fair-minded. I can’t keep my temper if the guys on the field do not take their job seriously. Then I get really tough, and you can hear me at the other end of the city. And when they deserve to be praised, I can praise them. But I'm demanding, the guys know that. Only with a serious approach can one succeed. Of course, you can have fun and some laugh, but there’s time for work and for play.

- What are you dreaming of?
- They say that dreams always come true. I want to succeed as a coach. As a footballer I treated everything very seriously, so I do now. Of course, I’d like to be the coach of Shakhtar someday. Life will tell. Recently I laughed about this: when I started in Poland, the team had orange colours. The second one was based in a small town, then Shakhtar. And now, already as a coach, both of my first and second teams have orange colours. Maybe there’ll be the third one like that? I’m delighted at the moment to be working at Termalica. Serious people here, we can build a team. And gain experience as a coach, because a man always learns something. A lot depends on the kind of team you have. Each coach would like to have the players similar to those at big-name clubs. They can be told to do so and so, knowing that their heads and eyes are always raised. And there are stages when you need to watch how a person receives the ball. In this case, you’re the one to help him to become a football player. The coach’s task is to ensure that no one stops and improves his performance daily.

- You have three sons. Is any of them involved in sports, or in football?
- The elder one loves football, trains, but for the third month in a row he has been doing nothing, because everything was closed. The middle one plays tennis and does karate. He is 12. In the Czech Republic he participated in a competition and became the vice world champion in karate. The dad and mom are happy. And the youngest has not decided yet: he attends tennis classes, I try to switch him to football, but we'll see. I don’t want to force anyone. The child himself must know what he wants to do in life and to make a decision, while I can only give advice and some help.