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We need to progress - we work on that

Wednesday, August 11, 2021



Shakhtar head coach Roberto De Zerbi spoke about the victory over Genk, the next match, the style’s dependence on the opponents’ pressure, Pedrinho's injury, Sudakov's return substitution and the team's potential

- You had less ball possession than in the first leg against Genk, but at the same time you created more dangerous chances. Have you deliberately decided to reduce ball control in order to get more space for counterattacks, or is it more of Genk's merit?

- Bravo, great question. Genk had more ball possession with their goalkeeper. When we controlled the ball, the opponents pressed really hard. We played very well and started our play in such a way as to get around Genk's pressure. And when you start it so well, then scoring chances occur. The possession always depends on the opponents’ pressure. The tougher the pressure, the more vertical further development. The less opposing pressure, the greater our control of the match and possession of the ball will be. Of course, those are two different types of play. And when we become a really strong team, we will always have many chances, many options for amassing multiple goals and winning every match.


- In the next round you will face AS Monaco. That’s the club whose middle third is blocked quite well by a huge number of midfielders and who develop attacks via the flanks very well. Obviously, in this game, just like against Oleksandriia, you experienced some minor issues while moving from defence to attack - you faced high pressure. However, it seems to me that you will have serious problems against the team whose playing pace and the class of players are much higher. Are you ready to apply some kind of attacking variability in contrast to what you have now, to what you demonstrated against Oleksandriia and Genk?

- Firstly, I don't want to talk about Monaco now, since the next match is against Metailst 1925. Then, you need to know and accept the attributes and qualities of the players. We have a technical team, the players love possession. What can be changed is, of course, the mentality. To do that, we need to think that what we do is never enough. And when we do that, we’ll become a top club.


- Do you already know how serious Pedrinho's injury is?

- Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow we will understand it. Most likely, he will not be able to play against Metalist 1925 on Friday. We'll find out later when he can return.


- We are very glad that you fielded the youth - both Sikan and Sudakov. What is the reason behind Sudakov’s reverse substitution? Didn’t he blend in with the team play or was it due to injury?

- It's a pity that I replaced Sudakov, but he earned a yellow card in the first half. It seemed to me that he was not playing calmly, so I didn’t want to risk him so that after a foul he wouldn’t get another booking. After the substitution I gave him a hug because I know how strong he is. He can show his progress in the future. We have more young and strong players: Mudryk, Konoplia, Bondarenko ... The season and the league campaign are long, in two days we will play against Metalist 1925 - we need all the players.


- Shakhtar have secured just one clean sheet in this season’s five competitive games. Does it bother you? How do you plan to improve this aspect?

- We conceded more goals than we should have and scored less goals than we deserved. We need to look at the situation from a mental point of view. This means that Shakhtar were not champions last season. Many young players play at Shakhtar. Darijo Srna and Fernandinho don’t play any more. To perform to the same high standards, the team needs to progress. We try to work on that. I think the team have some great potential. If we work hard, we can get it.