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Lucescu joy at UEFA Cup chance

Published: Tuesday 7 December 2004, 23.46CET
FC Shakhtar Donestsk coach Mircea Lucescu hopes for a good run in the UEFA Cup after defeating FC Barcelona.
Published: Tuesday 7 December 2004, 23.46CET

Lucescu joy at UEFA Cup chance

FC Shakhtar Donestsk coach Mircea Lucescu hopes for a good run in the UEFA Cup after defeating FC Barcelona.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu urged his players to show more consistency but was still delighted by the win against FC Barcelona that allowed his side to leapfrog Celtic FC. The Scottish champions could only draw with AC Milan, meaning Shakhtar take third place in UEFA Champions League Group F and enter the UEFA Cup. Shakhtar beat a weakened Barcelona team thanks to two first-half goals from Julius Aghahowa. Barcelona, for whom Andrés Iniesta missed a late penalty, end the group in second place behind Milan.

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
I would like to say that we deserved a place in the UEFA Cup - not only today but with all our performances in the Champions League. I am satisfied with this win, as beating Barcelona is not easy. Our youngsters have big futures ahead of them. We played an excellent first half - possibly the best football we have played in the Champions League this year. We kept the Spanish side busy and could have scored more. I am not too happy with the second half, where we stopped and looked satisfied with the result and only created one chance. Our problem is that we cannot play 90 minutes at the same level. Currently we have no specific goals in the UEFA Cup, but in the winter we plan to strengthen the squad. Let us see who we get in the draw.

Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona coach
We put in a lot of effort, especially in the second half, but two errors in the first half led to our defeat. We played better after the break but could not score. I have to compliment Shakhtar, who are a strong and well-organised side. The main reason for our defeat was the strength of Shakhtar rather than the absence of our leading players. [Samuel] Eto'o, Deco and Ronaldinho did not play - Deco was not feeling well, while I decided to rest the other two. Their absence did not mean we were not looking for a win, but it was a chance for our younger players to get some experience. Shakhtar did not surprise us; they played to their potential.

Last updated: 08/12/04 13.53CET

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