Oleksandr Petrakov: We do business for the country, we play to bring positive emotions to compatriots
The head coach of the national team of Ukraine Oleksandr Petrakov spoke at a press conference on the eve of the home game against Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Nations League, which takes place in Lodz, Poland on June 14 (kick-off at 21.45 Kyiv time).
- Is it difficult to win five matches in a row at this difficult time for the country? How do your wards feel about this?
- If I had won five matches, I would be in the final stage of the World Cup now ... It's hard or not, but this is our job. We do business for the country, we play football not for ourselves. We play to bring some positive emotions to our compatriots.
- What is the staffing situation in the national team of Ukraine?
- Roman Yaremchuk has a problem with his ankle, now we are going to do an MRI. Oleksandr Zubkov has a fever, he will not be in pre-match training. Yesterday there was a game clash between Eduard Sobol and Denys Popov. They went to receive medical care, but will train. Andriy Yarmolenko will train today. Yesterday he asked, he is the captain of the team. Ruslan Malinovskyi also had a fever yesterday, let's look at his health. The whole team got a little sick. Let's just say it's all right.
- Can you confirm that everyone has been really sick?
- Yes, the team picked up a cold after Wales.
- Will you and the players return to Ukraine after the national team matches?
- Speaking of me, I'm going to Ukraine, to Kyiv. I love my country, I go home.
- Did you feel at home during the match with Armenia? Did you feel a unity with the fans??
- Yes, we felt at home. This is not my first time in Lodz,, it was my initiative to play here. Many Ukrainians came to the stadium. I had my friends came here, I was in the city center. People approached, thanked. The atmosphere was very good. Thank you to the fans, thank you to Poland for the reception both three years ago and now. We are treated like home here.
- Andriy Pyatov said a touching farewell to the national team of Ukraine…
- Yes, this is a great player who deserves such retirement. He wanted to leave the team earlier, but I asked him not to. He said: let's have your farewell, I'll put you on the game with Armenia. We did it, I think we succeeded. We said goodbye to Andriy. It was his initiative to retire, but this is life.
- The Irish will be missing leading defenders - Shane Duffy and John Egan. Does this simplify the task for your team?
- This is the Nations League, new players are being tested here. I think the coach will find someone to put. This can be a serious loss when playing for a World Cup or European Championship match. And now… That's why the Nations League is held so that there are not just friendly matches, but games with a tournament task. I don't think there will be any problems with that in Ireland.
- Will the Irish play the same tactics as in the previous match?
- I don't know, we'll see tomorrow. We are ready for everything, we focus only on our team and our game. Let's see how the opponent will play on the football pitch.
- In case of victory, the national team of Ukraine will be able to consolidate the first place in the group. Is the team aware of this?
- When you start counting something before the game, it never coincides, believe me. This is football, this is a sport.
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