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We are preparing for a difficult match against Marseille

Saturday, February 10, 2024



Shakhtar defender Valerii Bondar shared his impressions of the last friendly match of the winter training camp and assessed the team’s readiness for games against Marseille

– The training camp is over, the last friendly match was held. How can you rate the team after the match against Lechia, and what do you think of this draw?
– We consider it as a certain experience. After this game, we can see what moments did not work out, where we acted well and where we did not, where we made mistakes. And, of course, we have to draw conclusions from this, because we wanted to complete this training camp with a victory, but it is what it is. We are already preparing for a difficult match against Marseille. And I can give us a “three” because we conceded a goal.

– What were the main positive and negative moments in this test match?
– There were flaws and mistakes in simple moments that should be eliminated from our game because they can cause very painful things for us and we can concede like we conceded today. And the positive thing is that we scored the goal and tried to score more: there were moments, but we did not bring them to completion and to a goal.

– You led the team to the field as a captain. What does this mean to you as a Shakhtar graduate?
– It is a very big honour and a great responsibility, because I have been in this team since I was eight years old, it was very important and nice for me. I am grateful to the coaching staff for this, grateful to everyone who was always by my side, and grateful to the team that enter the field with me. I promise that we will always fight for the result, for victory, so that our fans are happy and satisfied with our performances not only in the Ukrainian League, but also in the European Cup arena.

– How was it decided that you would be the captain? Why did the head coach give you this chance?
– We changed captains during the training camp. This is Mister’s decision, it is probably better to ask him.

– Were you worried?
– Of course, every time I come on with the captain’s armband, it is double motivation, double responsibility. You have to control both your emotions and emotions of the team, and generally the events on the field. In some cases, you have to reassure, and sometimes, on the contrary, to give advice. And you have to be the leader who can not only say something, but also show it with your own performance.

– In general, how did the training camp go for the team, what did you manage to practise?
– It was a very intense training camp, there was a lot of work with and without the ball. We worked in many directions: in defence, attack, during the kickoff. Of course, it is difficult to begin the season when there are no official matches, but this is the specific feature of our championship. But I think we should approach the match in good physical condition and be mentally ready for a very, very difficult game, because Marseille are currently participating in the championship, there are many big names there, the team played in the group stage of the Europa League at a very high level. It will be difficult, but we will do everything to win.

– You just described Marseille, and what will Shakhtar try to show in this showdown? And how do you rate the chances of passing this stage of the Europa League?
– I rate them very highly, because I think that we have quite a good chance to advance as far as possible in this Europa League. We are determined – we really want it, we want to please our fans, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which are probably also worried about us. And we want to raise the Ukrainian flag in the European arena.