Shakhtar is a legendary European club
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Shakhtar head coach Roberto De Zerbi gave his first big interview to Shakhtar TV, in which he spoke about philosophy, his staff, transfers, season start, the game and talks about football
- Welcome to Shakhtar! We know that you have had many offers from different clubs. What attracted you in Shakhtar's project?
- Thank you. I believe that Shakhtar is a top club. Because the Shakhtar management who contacted me have the same philosophy and ideas as mine. Because there are many talented players at Shakhtar. And because I really wanted to coach abroad. Working in Italy is one thing, but working abroad gives rise to my career.
- Sergei Palkin said in an interview that you are so passionate about football that you can talk about it for hours. How did you negotiate with the club?
- Sergei is right because I could talk about football 24 hours a day. I would like to communicate not only in Italian, but to improve my level of English and to know your language as well.
- How was your meeting with Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov? Did he surprise you? What did he say?
- The president also likes talking about football, and he knows a lot about football. In this regard, we are very similar. I have excellent impressions because I immediately grasped his charisma. He is the person who knows everything about football in detail. It’s very difficult to find such people, and when you meet them, you immediately realize that this is a great rarity.
- What does the upcoming start in the Champions League qualifying stage mean to you?
- Before the Champions League qualification, there is the Super Cup which is really important for us, and then comes the Ukrainian League opener. We want to start well, with a victory. Then, of course, we'll start thinking about the Champions League because we want to get into the group stage.
- What are your impressions of Kyiv and the facilities where you have to work every day, the stadium where the team play?
- The stadium is very beautiful, I really liked it. The rest is very good, but the level needs to be improved. Yes, we should understand that this is not our city. Seven years ago, Shakhtar moved to Kyiv - we need to adapt to the situation. My goal is to improve the level of players and win trophies, but also to help the club raise its level, just as the club will raise mine. By talking about this I mean everything: footballers, facilities and the level of play.
- How many Shakhtar games did you manage to watch during your negotiations with the club? What can you say about the team level at the moment?
- I watched their matches, for instance, against Real Madrid, Roma, Inter. But at that moment I was working at Sassuolo and it was difficult for me to consider another team. Of course, I know all Shakhtar players, I like many of them. We have many talents. The young guys are also really interesting - they should know that I believe in them. I’m sure that together they will become even more important players.
- Perhaps we’ll be able to see the players you worked with in Italy?
- Maybe. We'll see. We need to check the roles we need players for. I shouldn't bring a player with me just because I worked with him. The most important thing for me is that they fit my philosophy of play and that of Shakhtar - if so, why not then?
- In a recent interview you said that the international language of football is universal. What are your favourite words in that language? Perhaps attacking, dominance? Tell us three of them.
- It’s ball. If we have possession, then the opponents don’t. Courage. It always gives us the opportunity to achieve the result and win. Pleasure, ours and that of the fans while watching football because, at the end of the day, football is a game. We have many talented footballers. I'm sure they themselves want to enjoy the game, and I want the same.
- Currently, all Shakhtar players and fans have been watching your interviews with special attention. Perhaps you would like to send them the first message now?
- I just want to convey my feelings that it’s a great honour for me to be the coach of Shakhtar. I'm one hundred percent sure this is the right place. I think that Shakhtar is a legendary European club. And I promise that I will give one hundred percent of my capabilities and my entire professionalism. I’m sure that we will showcase a really good play. I know that when we display our game, the fans may well fall in love with it.
- Darijo Srna said that your coaching staff will include eight people. Who are they and what will they do?
- All of them are my assistants to help with tactical and technical issues. Fitness coaches. One goalkeeping coach. And one assistant who I’ve been working with for many years – he will assist and advise on the players to better suit my play.
- The team have got a summer training camp ahead. Do you plan to watch many young players of Shakhtar? Will they have a chance?
- Yes. I’ve already started watching friendly matches of the Ukraine national team. I’m gonna watch them with great interest. Andriy Shevchenko played in Italy himself, and there are Italians among his coaching staff - they are also my friends.
- Could you single out some players?
- Matviienko, Korniienko, Sudakov, Marlos, Stepanenko, Trubin ... I know them very well. But Ukraine features not just our players, but also those who play abroad. Kovalenko and Malynovskyi play in Italy for Atalanta. They are very strong and important players for the national team of Ukraine.
- Darijo Srna also said that you are young, ambitious and hungry. What should De Zerbi win to satisfy his hunger?
- My coaching staff and I left the Italian league, a really important league, Serie A. We will come here without our families. We will not come here to rest, but to work hard. Winning is the end of the road. But we want to work hard every day to make this journey successful. This philosophy is both ours and the club’s. We want to surprise all fans and the entire football community with the way we play. We want everyone to enjoy Shakhtar's games - the president and the fans. We are confident that we can do this with the help of talent. And if we ultimately manage to do all that, then I'm sure we can win titles.
- What is your least favourite question for us not to ask it again?
- When I give an interview, I never want to know in advance what questions will be posed. I’ve got nothing to hide. I am a very pure person, I love my job, I love football, I am well versed in football. Therefore, I am ready to get any questions you want. I am ready to answer any questions.