Famous Ukrainian coach Yuriy Virt shared his expectations from the Champions League match Antwerp vs Shakhtar.
- Frankly speaking, I do not recognise Shakhtar even in their performances in the all-Ukrainian arena. Some uncertainty has appeared in the Pitmen's actions. If previously it didn't matter for them where to play, whether in the minority or at even strength, then this season the situation has changed dramatically. In particular, in the recent calendar game against Rakh, the Pitmen played second choice, both at the start of the game and after Yaroslav Rakitskiy was sent off. The situation was similar in the match against Vorskla.
- Perhaps such changes in tactics are caused by the emergence of a new manager - Patrick van Leeuwen?
- Here is the strangest thing. Last season, under the leadership of the Dutchman, Zorya showed intensity, speedy movements, the players were maximally motivated. Patrick was invited to Shakhtar in order for him to "set up" such a sharp attacking style for the Donets. It did not happen, while the Pitmen's actions are more frustrating.
- But it is fair to say that the Dutchman is unable to throw the optimal squad into the fray due to injuries and disqualifications of leading players.
- Agreed. It is quite difficult to find an equivalent replacement for Matvienko, Bondar, Traore, Bondarenko, but other key players are in the lineup, where is their excitement or desire to take the initiative in a difficult moment?
- After your words, there were doubts whether the Pitmen would be able to survive in Antwerp tomorrow.
- Unfortunately, the reality is that the other group participants - Barcelona and Porto - are stronger now. That is why the rivalry between Shakhtar and Antwerp will decide who will continue in the European Cups in the spring. By the way, the Citizens are one of those teams that score few goals, but hardly concede either. Shakhtar do not like to play with such an opponent. At least last season, they needed space. But, on the other hand, the hosts will want to take advantage of the home walls and therefore they may focus on attacking in large numbers. Perhaps it is under such circumstances that the visitors will be lucky to find the shortest route to the goal in a counter-attack. Although, remembering how helplessly the Pitmen have been defending lately, it is worrying for the backline. That is why, if tomorrow in Belgium everything ends with the signing of a peace agreement, it will be a positive outcome for Shakhtar.