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Football will give people emotions

Monday, August 22, 2022



Shakhtar head coach Igor Jovicevic answered reporters' questions before the match vs Metalist 1925

– How hard is it to prepare for the new season during the war? What was the most difficult during preparation?
– It was as hard as it was for you to prepare for this conversation, your work. This is our work and we accept this as professionalism, as a very big responsibility: to show the world that life in Ukraine does not stop, but continues. And football is one of the causes giving emotions to the entire country and people fighting for us all. This is very important for us, not only for Shakhtar, but for the UPL in general, to continue life, to show the world that football moves on. It is difficult. But currently, maybe, football is not as important as this public, social and life movement.

– Are you satisfied with the team readiness for the season? What have you already did and what else should be done?
– Tomorrow's match will be demonstrative for us, like for the other teams. We and the entire UPL will receive a lot of tactical, physical and psychological information after the match. I think that no one will be at the top of their form prior to the first matches. It is impossible. Training camp is not the same: less tension, less psychological pressing, more loading. Tomorrow we will see football in its full, where you play toward a result, where there is a high stress level and responsibility, and price of error is too high. The are many young players in our team. We see how we will manage such pressure, deal with stress. But, I think, we have a very good concentration of talent. If it is connected with inspiration, motivation I’ve talked about, then soon we will be better and better. It will be hard for everyone in the first match.

– There are many young players in the team. What do you think, who will be the leader of the team?
– We know the leaders of this team. But I want to see the other players coming to light as well. Players who will help, taking the game through behavior, actions on the field. In order not to hide from the match when the difficult moment comes, in order to take responsibility through dribbling, tackle, challenges when the play breaks. Everyone shall step it up in own segment and in own position. This increases confidence, competitiveness.

– You know about war like no one else. There were troubled times in your country as well. How do you motivate the guys for the championship under such conditions?
– It is hard, it is very hard. Atypical situation. I don’t even know if there is a similar situation somewhere in the world now. We will see how everything goes. On the one hand, there is a desire to show us all, to show that life goes on. On the other hand, really, there is such situation. If we will hear an alarm signal tomorrow during the game, we will see our reaction, the way of the match continuation, duration, rescheduling possibility. We also participate in the Champions League and we must think about the methods of getting to the match location. Logistic is very important. We all have to be as a family. Everyone. Journalists, us, citizens, we all have to understand that football is needed only for people to switch off from their stressful things. We help in this, although it is difficult for us. We are also humans. We play toward a result and want to give our fans a moment of happiness. Of course, we want to win in every match. This is what we will work on.

– Why you decided to join the club playing during the war? And how hard it is to engage the international players during such period?
– I have an internal motivation pushing me forward. Champions League, where FC Shakhtar is playing, is one of such factors. This is a dream I have been working on for a long time. And our working morality grows every day. Footballers, who are here now, really want to be in Shakhtar and build new Shakhtar. It is very important. Change of generations happening now in Shakhtar is a very big merit for mental stability of the team to make new Shakhtar. It was Brazilian Shakhtar for a long time. Everyone in the world associated the club with this vector. But we must forget about it and prepare anew process. What I think as a coach is that we need to accelerate the training process to really become a team that can meet the highest expectations. We need some time for this, but I know for sure that this is the way it is going to be.