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Srna sees room for Shakhtar improvement

Despite scoring the goal that defeated FK Partizan, Darijo Srna insisted it "will be better next time" after FC Shakhtar Donetsk narrowly held on to win their opening Group H match.

Srna sees room for Shakhtar improvement
Srna sees room for Shakhtar improvement ©UEFA.com

FC Shakhtar Donetsk kicked off their UEFA Champions League Group H campaign with a 1-0 win against FK Partizan, but goalscorer Darijo Srna believes that there is plenty of room for improvement.

Without the creative drive of Fernandinho, who broke his leg in Friday's 1-0 league defeat against FC Obolon Kyiv, the home side struggled to break down Partizan and had Srna to thank for the only goal which came from a 71st-minute free-kick. "It was a difficult game and this victory is for Fernandinho and our fans," the Croatian international said. "They deserved it. We have to congratulate all those who came to the stadium and the whole team. Next time things will be better."

A crowd of 48,512 at the Donbass Arena watched Shakhtar create eight decent chances but only score once through Srna's first goal in the competition. "I took the ball as usual and managed to score and the goal proved very important," Srna said.

Shakhtar defeated Partizan 4-1 in Donetsk when the two sides met in the UEFA Europe League last season and Srna believes the Serbian champions are a tougher proposition this time round. "This team is much stronger than last year's," Srna said. "There were good players in the squad, all of them have the experience. Any team that gets into the Champions League cannot be bad."

Midfielder Olexiy Gai concurred: "The team has changed and has a lot of new players. It was hard to break them down and they troubled us at times. The main thing is that we controlled the game and took our chance."

Gai, though, conceded that given the number of chances that came Shakhtar's way, the game should have been made safe long before Srna's intervention. "You need to convert your opportunities at this level. Perhaps we need to work more on that. Before our next match we will try to learn from our mistakes."

Partizan pushed hard in the second half and Nemanja Tomić put the defeat down to ill fortune. "We were unlucky," he said. "It was difficult and we were more focused on defence, but we also had chances which should have been converted. I hope against Arsenal fortune will be on our side. They beat Braga 6-0 which speaks for itself but we will try very hard in the upcoming matches."