We’ve lost players, not the style
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Shakhtar manager Luis Castro spoke about the upcoming match vs Real Madrid, the squad, respect and the team's great desire to achieve results
- I read that you have a lot of players missing. Given the squad you currently have, what’s your personal opinion: should you have cancelled it?
- UEFA has introduced certain rules, we’ve got all the parameters, and we must act according to them. You asked what would I prefer? Of course, to play against Real Madrid at some time when we haven’t lost so many players. At the moment we’re experiencing a nightmare. Kryvtsov, Matviienko, Ismaily, Stepanenko, Alan Patrick, Kovalenko, Taison, Moraes, Bolbat and some others are absent ... Of course, this is not what a coach would want. And at the same time, we need to appear in the match and bring in all the energy we have. And the fact that we’ve lost our players doesn’t in any way relieve us of any responsibility. We defend what Shakhtar wants - good performance and result. Is it difficult in such conditions? Yes, it's difficult.
- Ukraine had two different games against Spain: one was about ball control, the other was based on counterattacks and physical play. Will Shakhtar depart from their philosophy in tomorrow’s match against Real Madrid?
- Right, I had the opportunity to watch both games. I would like to publicly congratulate Shevchenko and the entire Ukrainian team on the result they managed to achieve vs Spain. But we must understand that Spain also created a huge number of chances and, fortunately, could not convert them. In any case, they had multiple opportunities. I think football should be considered not only judging by the results, but also by its dynamics, that is, by everything that happened on the field. While attacking or dropping deep against strong, powerful teams, one should remember that they need to claim a good result. They can’t rule something out - both things must be present in the game. We’ve lost our players, but we haven’t lost our style, we haven’t lost our DNA. We don't always do what we want in matches, but that doesn't mean we don't want to do it. Very often we don’t do that because the opponents don’t allow us to do that. And we always want the same thing: to dominate the field, to attack together, while maintaining a defensive balance, to prevent the opponents from making transitions to attack, to have more possession, to create more chances. But when you play against such a powerful team ... I understand what you are talking about. Perhaps some other strategies need to be adapted for this match. The strategic component for tomorrow's game will be very important in the context of our success. I agree that we need to approach the game a little bit differently, you are right.
- Perhaps the situation Real currently find themselves in will allow you to achieve a better result?
- What is Real Madrid’s current situation?
- Real Madrid have lost the recent game to Cadiz.
- Real Madrid have won three Champions League titles in a row. They’ve been the champions of Spain a huge number of times. You must understand that we’ve lost 13 players. You are talking about the difficult situation at Real Madrid? Are you kidding me now? What's the situation at Real Madrid? The team have Courtois, Nacho, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Militao, Marcelo, Casemiro, Valverde, Modric, Benzema, Isco, Vinicius ... And you are asking me about the situation at Real Madrid? No way, you’ve got to be more serious about football. You never think about the previous result, it doesn’t affect the next games. Real Madrid are a very dangerous and strong team. But I want one thing from the match - I want my players give lots of energy because they want to win it, they want to succeed. Shakhtar strives to achieve a positive result, of course. But Shakhtar can achieve it not because Real lost to Cadiz. Real Madrid had 75% possession, 14 shots on target. They could’ve scored many times. But Cadiz had a good strategy: while having 25% possession, they also made 14 attempts on target. While you are saying that this is Real Madrid’s crisis? No, that’s not true. Also, one more thing - I think everyone can think about it. This season, Bayern have conceded four goals from Hoffenheim, Liverpool gave seven away in one match, Manchester United - six, Barca - eight in the Champions League. the City are five or six points adrift of the top spot, Real lost to Cadiz, Porto lost at home to Maritimo ... That's what happened to the big clubs, this kind of inconsistency. Everyone’s not on vacation, but having many games: international duty, the Champions League, domestic leagues. Footballers do not rest, hence a certain stress, plus the football world currently has a kind of crisis. But these are things that cannot be changed, and we all just move on. Not only Real Madrid - many strong teams in Europe have lost points and suffered defeats. So, in my opinion, we need to make a deeper analysis of such things.
- Spanish reporters did not ask Zidane and Courtois a single question about Shakhtar as they don’t perceive them as a threat to Real. Meanwhile, it’s Shakhtar - not Inter nor Borussia MG - who are the Pot 2 side in the group. Do your players remember this? Right, a few people stayed in Kyiv, there are some personnel issues, but how confident are the others of the fact that you can not just play, but fight Real and score points in Madrid?
- This is a lack of respect, I’d put it like this. The reporters who took part in the press conference of Zidane and Courtois could have asked at least something about Shakhtar, because tomorrow Shakhtar will play against Real Madrid. Even if we are experiencing not the best times right now, that’s a lack of respect. But there are a lot of people in the world who do not respect each other these days. Every day it has been and will be so. Perhaps disrespect sometimes leads to such actions. These are the things I’m against. I don't like it, but okay - we should be able to live with that. There’s nothing worse in the world than us underestimating others. It’s very important to respect everyone. Unfortunately, apparently many people haven’t learnt the lesson of the global coronavirus situation. Some people think they are above the others and better than others. It's sad but it’s true.
- How do you plan to build your play tomorrow, given the absence of important players? You said that it would be better to have a different squad and under different circumstances. It’s the beginning of the season now. And you said that Real’s situation isn’t that bad at all ...- In case of Real Madrid, we shouldn’t recall the recent meeting with Cadiz. I understand that the last pic, the last result is remembered best. But, as I said, the negative results of other European giants also testify to what is happening in European football these days. Due to the possible fatigue - mental, physical, technical and tactical - and the huge number of matches, there’s a certain amount of stress present. I can’t look at Real Madrid and think that they are no longer strong because they suffered a recent defeat at Cadiz. We see Real as a very strong team and we will take them on tomorrow. We really want to prove ourselves with dignity and achieve a positive result. And we are well aware of what Real are capable of. Even if we had the 13 players I’d mentioned, they wouldn’t have moved Real out of the favourites position. But despite the fact that those guys are not with us, we just want to turn in some decent performance. I can say that tomorrow there will be many young footballers on our side. They will be showing the team’s strength with great energy and desire. Not individually, but as a team. Only the Shakhtar team as a whole will be able to show their high level tomorrow against the strong Real Madrid.