Integral to FC Shakhtar Donetsk's groundbreaking UEFA Champions League campaign, Luiz Adriano has identified concentration as being key to the Pitmen's hopes of nullifying FC Barcelona's attacking threat at the Camp Nou.
Competing in the knockout stages for the first time, the Pitmen face their toughest test yet in the quarter-final first leg. Yet, while they may have to defend diligently for long periods, Shakhtar can take comfort from the fact that they have an away-day specialist in their midst: three of Luiz Adriano's four goals in the competition this term have come on the road.
"FC Barcelona are a great team, one of the best in the world, and every match we play we make history, so we have to be very focused," said the striker. "
We do feel a bit of pressure facing these players. It'll be a very intense match, so that's why we have to be very focused. Barcelona's advantage is that they are playing at home."
Luiz Adriano is one of eight Brazil-born players in the Shakhtar camp, and while this is widely regarded as one of the key factors behind the club's recent success, the former SC Internacional forward was keen to share the plaudits. "It helps having so many Brazilians because we have worked together for a long time," said the 23-year-old. "Nonetheless, we all help one another − not just the Brazilians, but everyone."
Though he would doubtless echo those thoughts, Mircea Lucescu is still hoping for a bit of ingenuity from one his skilful South Americans. "Shakhtar are the team that has developed the most in recent years," said the Shakhtar coach. "It'll be a very difficult match but we will try to create chances. With the players we have, the talented Brazilians we have, we can do something."
Lucescu was also keen to point out that whatever transpires at the Camp Nou, there is always the return to come in Donetsk, where Shakhtar are unbeaten in 55 matches dating back to October 2008. "The most important things is the final result," he added. "Our players always sacrifice themselves and they don't know how to play any differently."
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