One of the best matches of the season

Wednesday, May 24, 2023



Press conference of head coach of Shakhtar Igor Jovicevic after the match against Zorya (3-0)

– Shakhtar went to play today, knowing the result of Dnipro-1 vs Vorskla match (1-2). But the meeting turned out to be very emotional: constant conflicts, fouls, injuries, send-off. Did you want to close the issue of the title during this match against Zorya and not postpone it for the last two rounds, or did the status of the opponents force you to play so aggressively? (Sport News)
– Basically, the result of the match of Dnipro-1 gave us some positive energy, unlike the previous games, when they finished in the last seconds. And there is no way around it – it affects the team emotionally, because football is a game of emotions. But the team deal with it, control their emotions. It was not easy to play today, because there is a very big responsibility, the price of failure is very high, and you have to win and only win, because only victory can bring you closer to the title. And today’s result is not final – we still have to play against Dnipro-1. Therefore, all focus, all emotional efforts we made today were aimed at winning the match against the team that are the best in the second round of the league according to the results. Zorya had 11 wins in 12 games, and it deserves respect. So, we approached the game very seriously, and our respect was reflected in the result. These are very important three points for us, but the championship is not done yet – we have to play two matches. We want to play one more significant match against Dnipro-1, to retrieve a defeat in the first round that still hurts. And that is what motivates us. That pain is our weapon, using which we want to win a sporting victory. If it brings us a title, then there will be no one happier than us. So, one more match, one more step. But today we had a game that you liked, I believe: the intensity, the tactical knowledge, the way we prepared for the match during the week and the way we showed ourselves today, I think this is one of the best matches of the season.

– Congratulations on the victory! Even with a 2-0 score, you kept giving prompts to Sikan, shouting, helping him when he played off the ball. The result is a minor injury and a substitution. Do you have information about his condition already? (1+1 TV channel)
– We will see, because the intensity was high, and he is a sprinter, and of course, the body and muscles may not be able to withstand such workloads. We will see what the doctor says, because there are still four days until the match against Dnipro-1. I hope that all these minor injuries will be healed because of the emotions, the adrenaline that we feel now. But sometimes you have to play to get over yourself, endure for the sake of the team, giving your all. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the club on its birthday. It has been 87 years, and the club always remains. The players are temporary: they come and go. But a club is a club. And it always comes first, it is more important than all players, no matter how good they are. Today I watched the UEFA Cup final, which Shakhtar won in 2009, and I would like us to be seen like that after some time. This is my dream and my energy. This is our energy, our responsibility, because we are drawing our future today. And we need one step. But I think the team are physically, emotionally and tactically ready to take this step. Of course, it will not be easy to play against very good opponents, Dnipro-1, and I hope that everything will be fine. But again: the club is 87 years old, and I would like to see Shakhtar for at least 87 more years at the same level as now.

– As you said, the match against Dnipro-1 will be the key and most important one. What is the plan for preparation for the game? Will the team rest or start working tomorrow? (1+1 TV channel)
– Absolutely yes. Tonight, we will celebrate this victory, so to speak, but, you know, we have not had time to be happy and feel joy for the whole season. You go to dinner with the enthusiasm to celebrate, but when the time comes to have dessert, you are already thinking about the next match, the adrenaline kicks in and the responsibility increases. Therefore, as in the Champions League, there is little time, you have to switch to another match and not think about the previous one. I am only interested in what will happen in four days: recovery from today’s workloads, preparation of the team as it was done today, focusing and showing our best face.