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Eduardo delivers warning to old friends

Eduardo tells UEFA.com why Arsenal FC should be wary of their visit to FC Shakhtar Donetsk and explains why it was "strange" facing his old club and scoring against them on Matchday 3.

Eduardo delivers warning to old friends
Eduardo delivers warning to old friends ©UEFA.com

Eduardo welcomes his old Arsenal FC team-mates to Ukraine on Wednesday as FC Shakhtar Donetsk look to avenge their 5-1 defeat in London on Matchday 3. The ex-Gunner talks about his feelings on facing his former club, his hopes for Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League and why he is the same player he was before his injury.

How do you assess the situation in the Group H?

We are still in a good position. Arsenal remain top with us right behind. We've six points, and if we beat Arsenal we'd practically be in the second stage. We are aiming to get at least to the quarter-finals of the Champions League – we can certainly do that, we've got a great team and all we need is a bit of luck.

How did it feel returning to Arsenal on Matchday 3?

It was a bit strange, a bit too soon. Three months ago I was still training there with the lads. I didn't expect it to be this soon, but at the same time to go back to where I played for three years was a great moment.

Shakhtar lost heavily but you scored a goal. Tell us about the game.

Eduardo: When we watched their previous matches, they always had six, seven chances but scored once or twice. We were expecting that. We weren't too far behind in terms of chances and didn't play as poorly as the final score suggests. They had their usual five, six attempts on goal, but this time they got five in. I was delighted to score, but the defeat hit the whole team hard.

How do you see Wednesday's game going?

Arsenal have always had difficulties against Eastern European teams and I'm hoping they'll find it the same this time. I know we're a good team and we're always strong at home. The team have not lost a single match since moving to the new stadium.

Will you have a chance to catch up with the Arsenal players? Who are your best friends in the team?

Eduardo: It's going to be hard. At Arsenal I was only able to have a quick chat after the match. It's likely to be the same this time. I've asked Mr Wenger if I can go into their changing room. It'll all depend on the score, but I'm sure we'll be able to speak afterwards. As for who I socialised with most, I was close to Denilson and also [Manuel] Almunia and [Tomáš] Rosický.

You didn't really celebrate your goal in London, what happens if you score this time?

Eduardo: It is not my intention to celebrate. I spent three years with those players in London, I respect them, I know they gave their best for me, and I tried to do the same for the team, the fans, the management, everyone. There'll be no excessive celebrating, although I would be happy to score for my new team.

How does your new coach Mircea Lucescu compare with Arsène Wenger? They've both been at their clubs a long time.

Eduardo: Longevity is important – it gives confidence, a kind of certainty to new players that they [the coaches] were the ones behind the transfer and not someone from behind the scenes. This means that they count on you and you yourself can then count on them.

Since leaving Brazil you've lived in Croatia, England, and now Ukraine. Have you enjoyed these experiences?

Eduardo: The hardest part was going to Croatia from Brazil – after that it became easier. I travelled lots with my clubs, lived in England, and it's completely normal now to live in different countries. I've got used to it. I see it as a positive – I can learn and experience other cultures. In England, for example, everyone wants to go there, see London, learn the English language, and I was able to absorb some of that.

What did you take from the different clubs you've played for that made you the player you are today?

Eduardo: There was a lot of pressure at Dinamo [Zagreb] because they, alongside Hajduk [Split], are one of the best Croatian clubs. So if you win 10 games, then lose one you seem to be dealing with a crisis all of a sudden. I learned there to manage to live under pressure, and when I went to England, I missed that actually. Of course, the pressure was still there, but not what I was under when playing for Dinamo and Croatia.

How do you feel when people compare you before and after your injury?

Eduardo: Before when people looked at my performance, they focused only on the things I did well; they used to overlook the errors. Now after my injury they concentrate on the errors and it's my good side that they neglect. But I'm the same, I made mistakes before the injuries and I make them now.

Eduardo was talking to the Champions League Weekly, the official UEFA Champions League television programme.

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