Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fenerbahce coach Pereira brushes off political concerns

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 16 Feb 2016

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Fenerbahce coach Vitor Pereira insists politics will play no part in his side’s Europa League tie against Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow in Istanbul on Tuesday. 

Tension is fierce between Turkey and Russia after the former shot down a Russian jet at the Syrian border in November last year.

However, Pereira insisted the focus will be on football rather than politics when Fenerbahce host Lokomotiv in the first leg of their round of 32 clash.

“[The tensions] didn’t even cross my mind. Football is football, politics is politics. These are completely different matters,” he said.

“We will play football. 11 footballers will be on the pitch from each team and they will go all out for their clubs. I don’t believe that any of the players think about politics. 

“I am a complete stranger to politics. I don’t understand politics. 

“My job is football. My passion is football. Therefore, I don’t think about the ‘angle’ of this game. Therefore we will play football tomorrow night.”

Fenerbahce sit atop the Turkish Super Lig standings and qualified for the last 32 after finishing second in Group A.

However, they will be without injured pair Lazar Markovic and Abdoulaye Ba against Lokomotiv, as well as the suspended Diego Ribas.

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