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Buriak dedicated to Dynamo

New coach Leonid Buriak wants to restore FC Dynamo Kyiv's winning traditions in Ukraine.

By Igor Linnyk

With Jozsef Szabo having retired due to ill health, the baton has been passed on to Leonid Buriak to coach FC Dynamo Kyiv. Having played for the club between 1973 and 1984, the 51-year-old former Ukraine coach is steeped in the history of the club and learned his craft with Dynamo's greatest-ever coach.

Famous system
"Dynamo's strength is the fact that in the last 50 years a great coaching system was developed at the club," Buriak told uefa.com in his first interview after being named coach. "The biggest contribution was made by Valeriy Lobanovskiy, and I was privileged to play under his guidance."

Improved performances
The new coach is adamant that his arrival will not change the system which helped Buriak win five Soviet titles, four Soviet Cups, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Super Cup during his time as a player with Dynamo, but he wants to see improved performances.

'Victorious traditions'
"We have to improve our game and maintain the victorious traditions of the club," said Buriak, who previously coached
FC Chornomorets Odesa (twice) and FC Nyva Ternopil. "I have already told the players that during their vacation they have to get used to the idea of working hard."

Season priorities
FC Shakhtar Donetsk wrested the title away from Dynamo for the second time in four seasons in 2004/05, and seizing that trophy back is a high priority, along with retaining the Ukrainian Cup and making a good account of themselves in the UEFA Champions League.

European target
"Dynamo players and coaches always have the highest goals," said Buriak. "We'll start from the second qualifying round this year so our goal is to get through to the group stage. You have to remember that the Champions League gets stronger and stronger every year."

Popular acclaim
However, perhaps more significantly, Buriak wants to bring crowds as well as trophies to Dynamo. "Another goal is to make spectators return to the stadium," he said. "European matches are always sold out but during domestic games there are quite a lot of empty seats."

New regulations
A new rule governing Ukrainian league football states that no side can field more than eight foreign players at any time. "As a former coach of Ukraine, I think it's a very good decision," Buriak said. "Now I have to give more chances to young local players, although our youth academy is one of the best in Europe. Every talented player will have a chance to make a name for himself."

First test
Buriak's side will have a first chance to prove their strength as they take on Shakhtar in the final of the Ukrainian Super Cup in Odessa on 9 July. In the meantime, the coach is going to put his players through their paces so they come back for the new season at their very sharpest.

Seaside break
"After a ten-day vacation the team will reconvene to the Black Sea - to Yalta," he said. "We'll practise a lot before dinner, while after that the footballers can rest with their wives on beaches. From my experience that yields better results than a normal pre-season camp routine."