We’re experiencing a nightmare

Saturday, October 17, 2020



After a major victory over Lviv, Shakhtar manager Luis Castro spoke about the staffing situation, the prospects of recovery by the game vs Real Madrid and the goals conceded

- For the first time ever, Shakhtar faced the coronavirus so seriously and had to self-isolate. How much did this situation affect the team mentally?

- A lot. We now live in an atmosphere of fear. Despite the fact that we take every precaution, the whole world and we have that. About half a million people got infected yesterday. And, unfortunately, we’ve also suffered from it, albeit not at that scale. But suddenly being left without a dozen players is a nightmare for a football team. At the same time, we needed to adapt quickly. At first we trained with six players, then we involved some of the guys from the U21 team ... It seemed we were trying to form a team to play against Lviv. Thank God, we have enough big professionals who are fully dedicated to their daily work. This enabled us to play - I won’t say to play just easily, but with confidence. We approached the match in the right way and managed to deliver a decent performance. Due to the absence of many players though, we are experiencing a real nightmare instead of some good time.


- Can this match be viewed as a rehearsal before the meeting with Real Madrid?

- Rehearsal? Having 13 players, you won't depart much from the starting line-up in the next fixture as well. Fortunately, I trust my players very much, I appreciate their hard work, the way they dedicate themselves to training. This allows me to sleep well. I believe in them, although they aren’t that numerous. We will go to Madrid with the confidence that we will try to give our best. We will try to achieve a good result early in the Champions League campaign.


- Will Stepanenko and Pyatov be able to play against Real?

- We're talking about the guys who were doing nothing for 12 days. Today it makes no sense to discuss the players who haven’t been with us and have not trained, and the fact whether they will be able to play against Real Madrid or not. My focus is on those who are with us now. We still hope that some players will be able to reintegrate into the team and spend at least a few minutes of playing time. Now its very important to make these guys recover as quickly as possible in order to understand what we can do in Madrid.


- What can you say about Kovalenko? Is there any information about him?

- Kovalenko hasn’t been on my mind in terms of the game in Madrid. If he's ready, it will be a surprise.


- Please comment on the goal by Lviv. Don’t you think that Shakhtar concede too many goals after corner-kicks?

- We always have certain issues when we concede goals - not only after deliveries. The footballers know that for me conceding goals is the worst thing that can happen. Even despite the fact that we were 4-0 in front then. We conceded quite many different goals: both regular attacks and set pieces. Frankly, we’ve got certain defensive issues. Fortunately, today our attacking performance was much, much better than defensive one. But to comment on that goal now means to say the stuff everyone has seen actually. Our goalkeeper intercepted the ball, the opposing player shot without experiencing any resistance and scored a goal. We know that when this happens, there are some players who weren’t effective enough in fulfilling their tasks. But football is built around that - mistakes and the opponents taking advantage of them.