Shakhtar boss says players made Celtic error this weekend after lacklustre league display

By Dave Flanigan

September 11, 2022

Shakhtar Donetsk manager Igor Jovicevic accused his side of having one eye on their upcoming UEFA Champions League clash with Celtic after the Ukrainian side snatched a 96th-minute winner over winless Chornomorets Odesa.

The 48-year-old saw his side go a goal behind early on, but Marian Shved’s equaliser and Oleh Ocheretko’s dramatic injury-time goal secured all three points going into Wednesday’s game, with Jovicevic keen to remind his side not to be distracted by glamour ties in Europe’s top competition.

Speaking to Shakhtar’s official website after the 2-1 victory, Jovicevic said: “These are completely different emotions. Wonderful opponent with excellent players, team actions. Today we are switching to Celtic already. Players want to watch the match fully and immerse into it.

Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

“I prohibited the players to think about Celtic, but, you know, they are young kids, we are a young team, and they think about the fact that the Champions League match is in four days, not intentionally, but somewhere in subconsciousness. And, maybe, somewhere they lost concentration for today’s game. I couldn’t blame them, this is a normal process.

“But we have to teach them, when building a team, that you should be able to play in the championship at the similarly high level after the UCL and such burst of energy.

“UPL is the basis of our process, because this is a marathon, stability, emotional balance. And I ask the team to always demonstrate a regular and stable game. Then we will be able to say that we have a team able to achieve the highest goals.”

Shakhtar go into the Warsaw clash on Wednesday in fine fettle, having won three and drawn one of their opening league four matches and smashing Group F rivals RB Leipzig 4-1 in Germany in their Champions League curtain-raiser, which led to the dismissal of Leipzig manager Domenico Tedesco.

Celtic, of course, have had a perfect start domestically this season, winning all six league games and conceding just a single goal, with only last Tuesday’s 3-0 home reversal to European Champions Real Madrid blotting their copybook.

In other news: The potential dates Celtic’s postponed Scottish Premiership fixture could take place