FC Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu is confident his team can make an impact in the UEFA Champions League this season despite taking just a point from the first two Group G matches. Though he knows the pressure is on against FC Zenit St Petersburg, Lucescu has seen enough since matchday two to give "me confidence that we can succeed in this tournament".
Coach Mircea Lucescu
I don't need to repeat how important this match is for us. It's always difficult to play when you're under pressure because of the importance of the game. Shakhtar need to win every match. On Saturday, in the league against Tavriya [Simferopol], we showed extraordinary character to win in added time. Of course you can speak about luck, but the key to success was the unwavering confidence of my players.
We lost points in our previous Champions League matches because of mistakes. At the same time, the high quality of our play gives me confidence that we can succeed in this tournament. Our luck will return. Zenit are well prepared physically, that allows them to play quickly. They have excellent attacking players such as Danny.
Because Zenit try to play quickly, they often lose the ball. As for Shakhtar, we leave a lot of space in behind when we're going forward. That gives the opposition the chance to counter, so we need to take fewer risks and be effective in attack.
Saturday: SC Tavriya Simferopol 1-3 Shakhtar Donetsk (Nazarenko 36; Luiz Adriano 28 90+5, Shevchuk 90+2)
Rybka; Srna, Rakitskiy, Chygrynskiy, Shevchuk; Hübschman (Fernandinho 67), Mkhitaryan, Douglas Costa (Seleznyov 62), Jadson (Alex Teixeira 56), Willian; Luiz Adriano
• Mircea Lucescu's side extended their unbeaten start to their Super League defence to 13 matches with their third win in six away games. They have won seven out of seven at home.
Yaroslav Rakitskiy serves the second game of his two-match suspension.
Coach Luciano Spalletti
It's difficult to say which team has the best attack. I've spent two years at Zenit, and this side has scored more goals than anyone else in the Russian league. When I came to St Petersburg, there was already a strong team here, so I didn't need to do a major overhaul.
It's very difficult to predict the result, but I'm sure my players will use their ability to try and control the game, and dictate the tempo. Shakhtar are a very skilful team, so Lucescu is right when he speaks about their commitment to attacking football as they usually have five Brazilians in starting XI.
It was five years ago when I came to Donetsk with Roma. Shakhtar have maintained their style of play since. Back then, they already had many Brazilians in their squad and they played attractive football, as they still do. Now they have a new big advantage – this great new stadium. Shakhtar have always shown their best at home and in Europe since Lucescu has been in charge.
Saturday: Zenit 0-0 FC Dinamo Moskva
Malafeev; Anyukov (Luković 64), Lombaerts, Alves, Criscito; Denisov, Fayzulin, Shirokov; Danny, Bukharov (Rosina 83), Lazović (Zyryanov 58)
• Despite the goalless draw, Zenit have scored 21 goals in their last seven league matches and won 13 of their last 19 games in all competitions.
Aleksandr Anyukov came off against Dinamo with a knee problem and Aleksandr Kerzhakov has an ankle injury; neither have travelled to Donetsk. Sergei Semak was an unused substitute against Dinamo having not featured since July after breaking his fifth metatarsal.
These clubs were old rivals in the Soviet era but have not met since the 1989 season when each posted a 1-0 home victory. Zenit's last Soviet Supreme League win at Shakhtar was a 3-2 success in 1981.
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