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Rotan: Mentality must change for Ukraine to improve

Ukraine midfielder Ruslan Rotan says there needs to be a change in mentality within the national team after they slipped to a third defeat at Euro 2016.

Jakub Blaszczykowski’s 54th-minute strike gave Poland a 1-0 win in Marseille on Tuesday, a victory that puts them into the last 16 for the first time.

However, for Ukraine it is a record fifth successive game without scoring at the European Championship as they finish bottom of Group C with no points.

Rotan’s performance in midfield showed promise and Mikhail Fomenko’s side threatened more against Poland than they had done in either of their previous games, but it was not enough and the 34-year-old believes wholesale changes are required.

“The biggest reason for this failure is the fact we have to work better on a psychological level, we perhaps didn’t have the mentality [to win],” he said. 

“We could talk about the atmosphere in the team but, for my part, that was very good. We have found a common ground, we have had a good time with each other.

“It’s hard for them [the more experienced players] because there is so much pressure on them and every little mistake leads to so much criticism.

“But it was a good experience, we have good young players and in the future you will see a stronger Ukraine.”

Rotan also revealed coach Formenko had been pleased with his side’s display in the final group game, even though their goal drought continued.

He added: “Mikhail thanked us for the work we have done. He said that for today’s game he was proud of us. But we got the result we did and we have to accept it. 

“Every player has to go through this kind of situation, sometimes you are criticised, sometimes people say good things about you, you just have to deal with it.”

Tue 21 Jun, 2016
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