Favbet Puma SCM

I have always watched Porto

Monday, September 18, 2023



Head coach of Shakhtar Patrick van Leeuwen answered journalists’ questions before the match against Porto

– Hamburg will be the fifth city where Shakhtar will play in the European Cups after leaving Donetsk in 2014 due to war. It is interesting to know what you think about the matches in Hamburg and what you expect from moving to this city?
– First, I think that the club decided to play here based on the opportunities. We have to take into account the fact that last year the European competitions were held in Warsaw and this season Legia Warszawa also made it to the European competitions, so we would have two teams playing in Europe and this could make it less interesting for people to attend the matches. After that, the club became aware that Hamburg was interested in international games. So, in respect of ticket sales, it was a great decision. Here we will meet some great teams. We are happy with this move, the quality of the stadium and everything else.

– Many defenders are absent – Chyhrynskyi, Matviienko, Bondar. Does this complicate the situation for you?
– Some of the defenders were out a few weeks ago and I think the other players have done a good job during this time in their positions. We will miss them, but we have enough quality players to continue our progress.

– Another question about the players, specifically about the goalkeepers. How does Dmytro Riznyk feel after the tragedy with his brother? Do you already know who will play tomorrow?
– Dmytro travelled with the team, so it means he is OK.

– Hello from Georgia. Tomorrow's game will be the first for our boys – Giorgi Gocholeishvili, who has been at Shakhtar for half a year, and Irakli Azarov, who joined the team recently. The national team games were quite difficult. How do they feel now? What can you say about them and how important are they to the team?
– First of all, both of them are doing well. They are nice to work with, I have known them since the beginning of the season. Not only they were called up to their national team in these few weeks, but also many Ukrainian players that are in our team. We take care of everybody. We expect a lot from both of them in the future.

– Mister, what is your opinion about Porto?
– As coaches, we always look carefully at the teams that we are interested in watching to see their qualities and style of football. In the last seasons, Porto have always been one of the teams that I have paid attention to because they have similar ideas about football and development of the players, make sure that they get the opportunity to play in the first team. Also, all these years in football we have had friends who work with Porto, so it is always nice to be in touch with them.

– What does it mean for you, as a coach, coaching players from Ukraine? What does it need from you, actually, to coach, not just soccer, but also other things that need to be taken into account?
– For me, this is the second experience in Ukraine: in the better period for the country, I developed my career there as a coach at Shakhtar, and was the director of the Academy. Last year, I went to Ukraine to be the coach of another club, and it was a totally different situation. More difficulties when playing football or moving from city to city – it takes more time, there are specifics related to war. All clubs that are participating in the UPL are making their best efforts to give a normal league to all of their fans. This year, this situation continues. The football in Ukraine is making progress, giving young players from local teams more opportunities to develop.

– In continuation of this question of my colleague: is it a statement for Shakhtar team to play in the UEFA Champions League? Can you make a statement about all these things that have been going on in the country over the last months?
– This is your question, but I think that it is on everyone's mind right now. How can Shakhtar help Ukraine through football? This is the only way for us to help at this moment: to make people around the world aware of the situation in Ukraine, giving our players the opportunity to participate in international competitions. So, there are two goals – to play football and to share information about events in Ukraine at this moment.