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Srna hopeful as rusty Shakhtar face Spurs

Published: Thursday 19 February 2009, 7.43CET
FC Shakhtar Donetsk captain Darijo Srna says his side need to be on their game from the start when Tottenham Hotspur FC visit the RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium for the Ukrainian club's first official fixture since early December.
by Igor Lynnik & Keith Wallace
Srna hopeful as rusty Shakhtar face Spurs
Darijo Srna believes a rusty Shakhtar still have it in them to overcome Tottenham ©FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Tournament statistics

Shakhtar DonetskTottenham

Goals scored14
 
11
Attempts on target49
 
47
Attempts off target41
 
29
Corners46
 
38
Offsides29
 
14
Fouls committed164
 
90
Yellow cards17
 
12
Red cards0
1

Media Services

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 19 February 2009, 7.43CET

Srna hopeful as rusty Shakhtar face Spurs

FC Shakhtar Donetsk captain Darijo Srna says his side need to be on their game from the start when Tottenham Hotspur FC visit the RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium for the Ukrainian club's first official fixture since early December.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk captain Darijo Srna says his side need to be on their game from the start when Tottenham Hotspur FC visit the RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium for the Ukrainian club's first competitive fixture since early December.

Long wait
Shakhtar have been on their winter break since the 3-2 victory at FC Barcelona on UEFA Champions League Matchday 6. That was a seventh straight win in all competitions for Mircea Lucescu's side, who had previously ensured third place in the group and a UEFA Cup campaign. They have since lost striker Brandão to Olympique de Marseille, and defender Tomáš Hübschman will be absent against Tottenham through suspension, but Srna believes Spurs' struggles in the Premier League could work to Shakhtar's advantage.

Caution
"We must get past an English side, though physically we're not 100 per cent ready," the midfielder said. "We had productive training camps in Spain recently, so we're more than capable of winning at home. The main thing is to be focused from the very first minutes and get a fair goal difference and not concede. Tottenham are more concerned about their place in the Premier League, but we must bear in mind that they are very dangerous opponents. They can mess up in one game, but put on a magnificent performance in the next one."

Important games
This match begins an important period for Tottenham, who themselves have had a rest since the 0-0 draw with Arsenal FC on 8 February. In the next two weeks they face Manchester United FC in the League Cup final at Wembley, knowing victory would ensure a UEFA Europa League campaign, as well as relegation rivals Hull City AFC and Middlesbrough FC. "This is another challenge for us," striker Darren Bent said. "The UEFA Cup gives us the opportunity to test ourselves against teams from other countries and cultures, and hopefully we can do the job on Thursday. It's all about getting momentum going. It doesn't matter what competition we play in, we have to be winning games."

Trio ineligible
Bent has not been starting recently but is likely to lead the line in the UEFA Cup as January signings Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe are ineligible, as is Roman Pavlyuchenko. Fellow newcomers Pascal Chimbonda, Carlo Cudicini and Wilson Palacios are available for what is Tottenham's first trip to Ukraine.

Last updated: 19/02/09 20.54CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2009/matches/round=15286/match=304810/prematch/preview/index.html#srna+hopeful+rusty+shakhtar+face+spurs

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