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Buoyant Shakhtar give Čech his due

Published: Wednesday 24 October 2012, 8.10CET
But for Petr Čech, FC Shakhtar Donetsk felt they might have taken even more than a 2-1 win against Chelsea FC, with the goalkeeper shrugging off a poor night for the holders.
by Bogdan Buga
from Donbass Arena

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Published: Wednesday 24 October 2012, 8.10CET

Buoyant Shakhtar give Čech his due

But for Petr Čech, FC Shakhtar Donetsk felt they might have taken even more than a 2-1 win against Chelsea FC, with the goalkeeper shrugging off a poor night for the holders.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk did superbly to overcome the UEFA Champions League holders 2-1 in Group E, but the Pitmen's players felt it was only a heroic showing from Chelsea FC's Petr Čech that denied them a much more dramatic success, while the goalkeeper rued a rash of inexcusable mistakes from his side in Ukraine.

Tomáš Hübschman, Shakhtar midfielder
Chelsea thought they would get the points in Donetsk, but they couldn't do it. Petr Čech congratulated me after the match and said he was looking forward to meeting me again in London. I had chances to beat him, but he made a great save with the first while I couldn't make proper contact with the second. The Chelsea players know that they it would have been really hard for them to salvage something from this match. Yes, we lost a bit of our nerve when they scored at the end, but we deserved this win. We had more clear chances and held on.

Now we must think about the visit to London. Chelsea will do their best to get a victory and please their fans. If they want to reach the next stage they need points in the next game. Obviously, they will play more attacking football than they did in Donetsk. I don't think we are almost through because we have only played three games and we have as many left. Every game in our group is very difficult. Nothing has been decided yet.

Henrik Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar midfielder
Mr Lucescu prepared us so well for this game. Everyone knows how strong Chelsea are. Fortunately, we got the early goal which is very important in a game against a side like this. After that, it was a lot easier as we had much more space to counterattack. We had more chances to score in the first half but we weren't lucky enough to do that. The Champions League is different from domestic competitions as we have to work much harder and be much more ruthless if we want to succeed. Our team is in very good form now but there is still a long way to go so we must go on the same way as tonight in this competition.

Olexandr Kucher, Shakhtar defender
We played good football: we created a lot of chances and were solid in defence. It went really well from the very start of the match, as we scored an early goal and controlled the game. After the break we continued to play our football. We dominated in the centre of the pitch and stuck to our gameplan. Our coach was very confident before the match and this confidence spread to the players. We showed our true quality and if it wasn't for Petr Čech, who saved Chelsea several times, it would have been much worse for them.

Petr Čech, Chelsea goalkeeper
It was a hectic game, and we didn't want that. We know Shakhtar are a counterattacking team. When they break, they come forward with pace and quality because they have a team built for that. After three minutes we gave them the lead and they could then play on the counterattack. The first goal gave them a lot of confidence, while we started slowly again and for the first 25 minutes they were on top.

In earlier games, we kept our balance well, but that was not the case today as we were too stretched and allowed them too much space. That was crucial, because if you players with such technical abilities so much room then you will always have problems. We were up against a very good team and we didn't have the greatest game. This Shakhtar team has played together for six years, more or less, and they won the UEFA Cup in 2009. You see that they've been improving and this is a team with a great stadium and set-up, so they can be really strong at the Donbass Arena.

It's a loss but we still are second in the group and we are at home in the next game, where we just need to get three points. Our group is pretty open because Juventus only drew [at FC Nordsjælland], so it's tight, and this can be to our advantage because while we lost today, other teams dropped points too. We are not that far off first place.

Branislav Ivanović, Chelsea defender
It was a hard game. We conceded early and it changed our game immediately. Shakhtar controlled the first half and played with class in the second as well. They took their chances while we didn't, and that's why we lost. We expected a lot of problems from Shakhtar as we know they are a very good team that have won a lot of matches this season. They have been playing together for a long time and this is their strength.

Shakhtar played as a unit tonight – they fought for the ball very well. We knew they had a strong attacking line with many players who can decide a game. They scored very quickly because of our mistake and it changed the whole game.

We have had lots of difficult matches recently and it also had an impact on tonight. We didn't play at our usual level. We felt a little tired but it's our problem and we have to solve it before the upcoming fixtures. The return match in London will be completely different because we have to win and make up for the three points we've dropped today.

Last updated: 25/09/14 4.25CET

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