Monday, May 29, 2017

Shakhtar have ´mentality problems´ – bemoans coach Lucescu

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 26 Nov 2015

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Mircea Lucescu lamented defensive errors and claimed Shakhtar Donetsk have “mentality problems” after watching his team’s spirited comeback fall agonisingly short against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Madrid secured top spot in Group A thanks to a 4-3 win but the Spanish giants survived an almighty scare during the closing stages as Shakhtar scored three unanswered goals in Lviv.

With Madrid in cruise control thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s double and goals from Luka Modric and Daniel Carvajal, Shakhtar mounted a late fightback with 13 minutes remaining.

Alex Teixeira pulled a goal back from the penalty spot before Dentinho’s 83rd-minute header gave the Ukrainian side hope.

Teixeira completed his brace with two minutes remaining in regulation as the impossible almost became possible, but Madrid held on to claim maximum points.

Speaking afterwards, Lucescu said via UEFA.com: “The only positive was the last 20 minutes. The introduction of Taison shook up my other attacking players; the whole team woke up.

“It happened as I said it would yesterday – that we would score but need to avoid defensive errors.

“Unfortunately, we conceded a silly first goal and Madrid took control of the game.”

Lucescu added: “We have mentality problems as my players often lose heart after conceding a goal.

“It’s a pity that even experienced players made mistakes tonight. For this reason, I substituted [Marcio] Azevedo, who was focused on attacking but defended badly.

“[Holding midfielder Taras] Stepanenko played well on the left of defence. The absence of [Darijo] Srna and [Olexandr] Kucher played a part. Maybe Madrid can replace any player, but it’s far more difficult for us.”

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