FC Dynamo Kyiv head coach Mircea Lucescu shared his expectations of the Champions League qualification play-off round first leg against SL Benfica at the pre-match press conference.
- What do you think of Benfica striker Roman Yaremchuk, who used to play for Dynamo?
- Yaremchuk is a really good forward. I think he’s important player for Benfica and for Ukraine national team.
- Dynamo have already done the impossible by outplaying Fenerbahce and Sturm. Have you got stronger mentally?
- Our situations are incomparable. Benfica have great structure and funds to pay for high profile players. We’ll have to fight on the field. Dynamo currently can’t conduct transfers, we don’t play at home. The team is training on the same field as kids, players don’t live with their families.
Still, despite all that, Dynamo did very well against Fenerbahce and Sturm. We hope we’ll reach the Champions League group stage. It’s important for Ukraine and players feel that. A lot of Ukrainian supporters come to our games – mothers with children. They want to feel unity while being far from Ukraine. We’ll try to give them positive emotions.
Benfica are great team. As I’ve said, in summer they signed fantastic young players – Florentino and Neres. The quality of their lineup has got better, they demonstrate spectacular football. Benfica have more opportunities than Dynamo, but everything is possible in football.
Unfortunately we can’t count on Sydorchuk and Harmash due to suspension. These are the most experienced players of our team. I expect to see a very difficult game, but we’re ready for that.
- Are you proud your players perform on top level under such difficult circumstances?
- I am. No one but us can feel how tough that is, what it’s like to work under these circumstances. But when players take the field, they turn into true professionals and do their best. I’m thankful for that.
- Shall we see defensive football by Dynamo tomorrow?
- We can’t play attacking football against Benfica. They have a lot of fast skillful players, who can create space. They’re very strong individually. But football is unpredictable. Benfica are of higher class, but we play with our hearts.