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Ukraine players feel momentum build

Published: Thursday 1 March 2012, 8.58CET
After four wins in five games, Ukraine strike duo Marko Dević and Artem Milevskiy said preparations for UEFA EURO 2012 were going well but warned further improvement was needed.
by Boaz Goren
from Moshava Stadium
Ukraine players feel momentum build
Ukraine's Oleh Gusev (L) takes on Israel's Lior Refaelov ©Getty Images
 
Published: Thursday 1 March 2012, 8.58CET

Ukraine players feel momentum build

After four wins in five games, Ukraine strike duo Marko Dević and Artem Milevskiy said preparations for UEFA EURO 2012 were going well but warned further improvement was needed.

Ukraine's players displayed a quiet confidence with the way preparations are going after Wednesday's 3-2 win in Israel in their latest warm-up game before UEFA EURO 2012 on home soil. The victory was their fourth in five games – the other result being a draw against Germany – and forward Marko Dević expects further improvement before the finals kick off.

Marko Dević, Ukraine striker
The match turned out well for us. Despite the rain, and despite the Under-21 fixture being played on the same pitch before our game, the surface took the strain and allowed us to play some quality football. We won a match which wasn't easy to win and we looked decent. We're happy and I think our supporters are too. Israel are decent opponents, albeit perhaps not top class. At EURO, we will be up against even more serious opposition.

Our league resumes this weekend and then everybody will be on the same page in terms of fitness. We had not seen each other for over three months but we easily got back down to work together. It will be even better when we come together to train before EURO. The team will get better for sure.

Artem Milevskiy, Ukraine striker
The squad hadn't been together for a long time and this victory was very important for us. The weather was far from perfect and created problems for everyone, but we tried not to pay attention and still got a win. Not everything worked for us – there were mistakes – but that's normal. The most important thing was to get the result. It was natural that in the second half, losing 2-0 in front of their supporters, Israel got more aggressive. We dropped back and allowed them to gain momentum – we were relying on counterattacks. In the end it got quite tense as we didn't want to lose, even in a friendly. It's good we got the win.

After the match the head coach and the FA president congratulated us on the result, as it was an encouraging one. I liked the way we linked up on the pitch and we still have time to improve this.

Maor Melikson, Israel midfielder
That was our first game under our new coach Eli Gutman and we've been made aware it's all about working hard and not expecting magic just to happen. I think Ukraine played well and for much of the game the wind was the main factor. We're not happy with a scoreline like this at home but we have to remember that Ukraine and Israel have very different agendas at the moment – they are physically and mentally stronger at this stage.

Last updated: 08/12/12 23.19CET

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