Championship is more important

Sunday, February 21, 2021



Shakhtar head coach Luis Castro reflects after defeating Rukh about rotation, replacing Stepanenko, the goalkeeper role, Moraes's objectives and Ismaily's issues

- What is more important now: the Europa League or the Championship?

- Without a doubt, the Championship is much more important despite the fact that we also give great importance to the Europa League. But talking about the hierarchy, the Championship is probably more important.


- To what extent has the current Shakhtar squad been oriented towards the upcoming match against Maccabi Tel Aviv?

- Of course, we are thinking about the game against Maccabi. We had training camps recently, and before that we had a vacation. And we’ve practically had no competitive matches yet. Of course, I did some rotation because we must also make sure that some players recover. For today's match weve changed three players, during the match we made all substitutions. We will carry out such changes, because the selection is really wide. Still, this is the beginning of the season’s second part and we shouldn’t forget about this as the players get fatigued and are not yet in their top form. Therefore, we will always make substitutions of this type, thinking about our next games.


- After the first half, you replaced Stepanenko. Did you want to have a look at Maycon?

- Stepanenko said that he felt some discomfort in the knee, so we needed to replace him.


- Is Trubin the main goalkeeper now?

- Trubin is a Shakhtar player, being part of the team. He is the first-choice keeper now, but globally speaking we don’t have any number one goalie, the second or the third one. But both Pyatov, Shevchenko, and Hrytsenko have enough attributes to play. Just as it happened to Pyatov this season. Everything can happen suddenly. But at the moment the first choice is Trubin.


- What do you make of Moraes’s form? What does he lack to score? Are you happy with the selection of strikers or do you need some reinforcement?

- Moraes is part of the team. He works hard. The striker has a lot of other tasks besides scoring goals. To get into spaces, to open them for his teammates, to attract the defensive third ... He is also a playmaker in the last third. Primarily, I’m interested in the fact that the team have won the last two matches. We haven’t conceded a single goal in the recent three games. We also kept a clean sheet against Inter before the vacation. We’ve secured four clean sheets in a row - this is quite important.


- Do you feel the absence of Kovalenko?

- I won’t talk about the footballer who is not mine. Kovalenko isn’t my player. How can I now talk about someone who is not on my team? My concern is to understand those who are on my team at the moment and to motivate them to the max.


- When will Ismaily be able to play?

- Problems appear after hhis return to work. Theres no specific date at the moment. We would very much like him to get back to the competition but, unfortunately, well have to wait more.