‘Men fighting at the front’

‘Men fighting at the front’

NOS SoccerCustomized

Lock sees only female journalists Shachtar: ‘Men are fighting at the front’

Feyenoord will take on Ukrainian club Shachtar Donetsk in the Europa League eighth finals on Thursday night (9 p.m.). The match will be played in Warsaw, Poland, due to the war. Feyenoord coach Arne Slot calls playing against this opponent “extra special.”

The 44-year-old coach says he follows the war in the Netherlands, but that it is now “getting closer.” Thus Slot is thinking of relatives of Shachtar’s players and staff, who are involved in the war or “in the worst case have died.”

Female journalists Ukraine

Lock also notices that the Ukrainian journalists who ask him questions are only women. “I have heard that their male colleagues have to fight at the front. That has an impact.”

One of the Ukrainian journalists present emphasized that Shachtar’s match against Feyenoord could be symbolic for the entire nation. Slot is aware of that. “Although I must say that they are always fanatical.”

Not only does Shachtar’s fanaticism impress Slot, according to him it is a good team full of Ukrainian talents. He also points to the club’s previous European results this season. For example, the team picked up six points in the group stage of the Champions League, holding Real Madrid, among others, to 1-1.

Back then, Mykhailo Moedryk was still playing for Shachta, the big star who left for Chelsea in the winter for 100 million euros. Slot said his absence makes a difference, but that plenty of good players remained, even though the Ukrainians are struggling with injuries.

Shachtar Donetsk and Real Madrid players before the October match in Warsaw

The same applies to Feyenoord, according to Slot. He notices that some Feyenoord players are “running up against their limits.” He therefore does not rule out saving players if the match lends itself to it. “You will see tomorrow which players it concerns,” he said.

Szymanski in base

It is at least certain that Sebastian Szymanski will start in the starting lineup. The Pole made his comeback against FC Groningen last weekend. He returns to the city where he achieved success with his first professional club Legia Warsaw: “I am fit to play.”

According to the journalists present, Sjachtar are taking into account Feyenoord’s stamina, which struck several times this season in the closing stages of a match. Therefore, Sjachtar would put a lot of focus on the last five minutes against the Rotterdammers.

“That’s good news for us then in terms of the first 85 minutes,” Slot said with a wink.

Kayleigh Williams