Shakhtar head coach Igor Jovicevich shared his thoughts after the victory over Chornomorets (2:1).
– Mister, after winning the Champions League match, how did you prepare the team for today’s game?
– The team and the coaching staff realized that it would be difficult to play in the Premier League after such an emotionally and physically exhausting match in the Champions League. And today it turned out to be a really difficult duel, which we broke at the expense of character. We fought, although we did not have so many emotions and aggressiveness, especially on the second ball in the center of the field in the first half. Chornomorets came out very charged: you could see their aggressive attitude towards the match, and they outplayed us by emotions, let’s say so. Atypical football: personally one-on-one all over the field – very few teams practice this. So we made some correction at half-time. But if Vanya Petryak had scored a goal from the first moment, then such matches would be won with an even greater score. I’m sure it would be, because it gives the confidence and emotion needed for the result. I must note the good team of Chornomorets, a good coach. And today, indeed, the collective character of Donetsk miners helped us win a very, very difficult match. These are important three points for us. Now we can recover a bit and prepare with full concentration for the game against Celtic.
– You say that there were adjustments after the break. What exactly did you want to change?
– Responding more to a one-on-one game. Because indeed, in the UPL, few people play like Chornomorets. Difficult to adapt. It would be easier if we prepared in the same way as Chornomorets – in the usual microcycle. Then we would be fresher, there would be more rotation, change of positions, there would be a better game in dribbling, one on one. There would be more creativity, because 100 percent, when you have a fresher head, you make decisions faster. But during the break, they made several adjustments to the positions of the players. Lassina Traore came out as a striker who gets the ball, and he clings very well with his back, which greatly facilitates the team’s game and gives it confidence. We “digged and dug” – and scored one, scored the second goal quite deservedly, but I can say that it was not a good game. This must be acknowledged. However, sometimes when you play not very well, but you win, this is also a very important component of character. You can’t always beat someone in class, when it doesn’t go well, when it doesn’t work out, but you believe and fight to the end – this gave us a positive result today. Both with Kryvbas and with Rukh in the minority, the game was not as bright as there was more such a “bandyugan” attitude. And then God will reward for all that work.
– The team has a tight schedule, now there will be a match with Celtic. Is there enough time to reboot and be ready?
– These are completely different emotions. Very good opponent with very good players, teamwork. Today we are already switching to Celtic. Players want to specifically watch the full match and dive deep. I forbade the players to think about Celtic, but, you know, they are young boys, we are a young team, and not on purpose, but somewhere in their subconscious, they think that there is a match in the Champions League in four days. And, perhaps, somewhere they divided the concentration on today’s game. I can’t blame them for anything – this is a normal process. And we have to teach them, when building a team, that after the Champions League and a surge of energy, you need to be able to play at the same high level in the championship. UPL is the basis of our process, because it is a marathon, stability, emotional balance. And I ask the team to play regularly and consistently all the time. Then we can say that we have a team that can achieve the highest goals.