FC BATE Borisov coach Igor Kriushenko hailed his side's clinical display in retaining the Belarussian title with four games to spare.
In 2006, BATE only secured their third championship on the final day of the season - and even then were grateful for FC Dinamo Minsk being held at FC Dinamo Brest after Borisov, three points ahead at kick-off, were beaten 3-2 at FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk having been 2-0 up at half-time. This term, however, BATE held their nearest challengers FC MTZ-RIPO Minsk 0-0 to keep their rivals eleven points adrift with three matches left.
Kriushenko said: "I feel happy and satisfied after a job well done. Last year we were fighting for gold up to the very last round of matches, but this time we avoided unnecessary nerves. The lads put in solid and sensible performances to open up a gap at the top. They did a great job to get this result and win the right to be called the best in the country."
Artyom Radkov, a key man in the BATE midfield, recalled pre-season predictions that they would relinquish their title. "I remember last year it was the same, as the papers and pundits were saying that we had a young squad and would therefore win nothing," Radkov said. "But we won both the league and the cup. We could have done that again but we were too tired before the cup final [lost on penalties to Dinamo Brest in May]. We didn't worry about any forecasts - we just knew it would be harder second time around."
'Stronger than anyway'
Director Anatoli Kapski was much more reserved, despite his team earning a return to the UEFA Champions League for 2008/09 after reaching the third qualifying round this season. 'We won our fourth title but can you believe, I have no emotions," he said. "I just felt some sporting anger after the MTZ-RIPO match because we lost against them in the first half of the season and wanted revenge. But it was not meant to be and that is why I have a bitter aftertaste. But I believe BATE were stronger than anyone this season."
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