Yuriy Virt: "Pushich had a whole month to prepare Shakhtar, but nothing has changed"

2024-02-23 10:40 Famous Ukrainian coach Yuriy Virt shared his impressions of the Europa League play-off return match for ... Yuriy Virt: "Pushich had a whole month to prepare Shakhtar, but nothing has changed"
23.02.2024, 10:40

Famous Ukrainian coach Yuriy Virt shared his impressions of the Europa League play-off return match for the right to reach the last 16 of the tournament between French side Marseille and Shakhtar Donetsk (3-1), which took place yesterday at the Provencal ground. The Shakhtar miners were eliminated from the tournament on the basis of the sum of two meetings (2:2, 1:3).

Юрій Вірт

- After the first match between these teams, there was hope for a positive result for Shakhtar. However, the score of the match in France is fair. And the fact that Marseille is going further is also quite logical. The opponents were more aggressive, created many chances and scored three goals. Once again, we have to state an unpleasant fact: Shakhtar concede easily. The first goal was actually a self-inflicted wound, and the second and third goals were caused by mistakes made by a whole group of Shakhtar players.

- After the opening whistle, it seemed that Pushic had set the team the task of surprising Marseille with their activity in attack, forcing the opposition to make a mistake and score a quick goal...

- Shakhtar started really well - they tried to quickly deliver the ball to the other half with long passes, but the goal against Marseille came about due to simple mistakes by the home side. Of course, we should also mention Eginalda, who forced the opposition to commit a foul with his individual actions. Every team dreams of scoring a quick goal, but then this success needs to be consolidated and maintained. However, Shakhtar made too many mistakes after that.

- Did the Pitmen's lack of game practice during the winter break affect them?

- No, it was not felt. "Marseille are not in the best condition now, so I didn't notice a significant difference in the teams' readiness. The only difference was in the number of defensive mistakes.

- Did Bondar's absence and Rakitskiy's forced entry into the starting line-up really become a significant problem for Shakhtar?

- It's not about that. The whole team made a lot of mistakes. Especially catastrophic was the lack of defence to attack, when the opponent quickly and relatively easily intercepted the ball, and posed a serious threat to Riznyk's goal. Both Konoplya and Bondarenko made mistakes often. Therefore, Bondar's absence has nothing to do with it...

- Perhaps we should still make allowances for the so-called "spring" football, which is always difficult for Ukrainian teams in European tournaments?

- What's the difference? All this talk about spring, summer or autumn football is just an excuse. At this level, you simply cannot make such gross mistakes, that's all. Opponents immediately punish you for that, and Marseille, although not in the best condition, was no exception. I would note that Shakhtar lost a lot of standards. And we were lucky that the home team in such cases hit it straight into Riznyk's hands...

- Could Marino Pušić have prepared Shakhtar better for the clash with Marseille?

- Of course, he could. He had a whole month to do this - enough time to build a game. However, unfortunately, nothing has changed so far. There is still a lot of work to be done!

- What do you think of the substitutions made by the Shakhtar coach?

- They should have been made earlier. Pushic started to bring on new players only in the 83rd minute, although the changes were obvious immediately after the second goal was conceded. As for those who came on at the very end of the match, the Shakhtar coach just let them play a little bit, and that was it. From about the 75th minute, it was necessary to throw attacking players into the battle, to change the tired Sikan and Bondarenko, and Zubkov, who did not have the best match.

- Can you praise anyone from Shakhtar's squad?

- Perhaps Sudakov, who worked well with the ball, tried to launch quick attacks, and scored a penalty goal. And Eginalda should also be praised for his 11-metre penalty.

- Don't you think Shakhtar were just unlucky with the draw?

- The draw was very favourable to the Pitmen. In this Europa League, more unpleasant opponents could have come along the way. But it is what it is... Even the troubled Marseille are too much for us now. Of course, there will be conclusions.

- Can Shakhtar's performance be considered a failure?

- Such a conclusion would be wrong. In the current situation, I consider it positive that the representative of Ukraine reached the European spring, got among the participants in the play-offs. Of course, the reality for Shakhtar is still harsh - the team is far from being able to move on in such tournaments, and everyone understands this. Unfortunately, despite the good equipment, the team has not reached the required conditions and has not yet met the expectations of the club's management.

Oleg Semenchenko

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