FC Dynamo Kyiv keeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy has told his team-mates to stand up and be counted as they resume in Group F against Sporting Clube de Portugal.
FC Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy has called on his side to take greater responsibility as they target their first points in UEFA Champions League Group F at home to Sporting Clube de Portugal on Tuesday.
Dynamo surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to the Ukrainian Premier League's bottom team, FC Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka, on Saturday and Shovkovskiy is demanding an improved performance to get the campaign back on track. "This is no time to relax," the Ukrainian international said. "We have to forget our defeats, just as we do our victories, and prepare for the next game, which is what we have been doing. The atmosphere in the team is good."
It has been a turbulent fortnight for Dynamo, however, since they succumbed 2-0 at AS Roma on Matchday 1. That defeat prompted the departure of coach Anatoliy Demyanenko and József Szabó has experienced mixed results since taking charge. Szabó said he "made a mistake" in fielding a weakened side against Naftovyk-Ukrnafta, but Shovkovskiy contends that the coach should not be held accountable for the result.
"Of course the coach is responsible for how the team plays, but every player also has to be responsible for his own play," said the 32-year-old, who should make his 60th appearance in the competition. "Every player has to analyse the facts and the reasons behind the defeat. I don't think it is solely the fault of the eleven players who started the game, but the fault of the whole team. Anyway, we have to look to the future. Since Roma we have a new coach, yet it will take time to change how we play. We have to work hard to get results."
These clubs have never met before, but with Sporting also chasing their first points after opening with a home defeat by Manchester United FC, Shovkovskiy predicts a close encounter. "Sporting are quite a strong team – there are no weak teams in the Champions League," he said. "They play very quickly and are good on the break. That can pose a problem but our job is to solve it. I haven't played much against Portuguese sides but I have seen a lot of Sporting matches and I can say their players are very fast and we have to be alert throughout. We have to respect every opponent if we want to win."