Not long in the FC Dynamo Kyiv job, Oleh Blokhin says the nerves have not yet started ahead of his first UEFA Champions League tie as a coach, GNK Dinamo Zagreb's Group A visit.
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Oleh Blokhin is "calm and focused" as he prepares to make his UEFA Champions League debut as a coach versus GNK Dinamo Zagreb. The 59-year-old took charge of FC Dynamo Kyiv last week following the sacking of Yuri Semin and, having steered the Bilo-Syni to victory in his first domestic fixture, is planning for a "really hard game" against the Croatian league leaders, who also opened their Group A campaign with a defeat.
Coach Oleh Blokhin
Dinamo Zagreb are a very disciplined team who largely play defensively. Having really fast wingers and full-backs, they count on quick counterattacks. They try to pack the midfield and play very tight. I watched their first match in the group [a 2-0 home loss] and must say that Porto had a very difficult time until the first goal. That's why I'm going to warn my players that we have to expect a really hard game.
Dinamo have some great individuals such as Sammir, Domagoj Vida, Duje Čop and Ante Rukavina. They are also very good at set pieces, so we dedicated at least three training sessions over the last five days to working on [dealing with] them.
Am I nervous on my Champions League debut as a coach? Not yet. I think tomorrow the feeling will grow. Now I'm absolutely calm and focused on my work with the team. I'm spending days and nights at the training ground and I'm not going to have a holiday in the near future.
Friday: Dynamo 1-0 FC Zorya Luhansk (Raffael 81)
Shovkovskiy; Silva, Khacheridi, Betão, Taiwo; Gusev, Bogdanov (Milevskiy 80), Vukojević, Kranjčar (Raffael 71), Yarmolenko (Yussuf 86); Brown.
• Artem Milevskiy set up fellow substitute Raffael to score his first goal for the club and give Blokhin a winning start to his tenure.
Miloš Ninković (knee) is Dynamo's only absentee. Miguel Veloso, who missed the match against Zorya because of a nerve problem, has recovered.
Coach Ante Čačić
Both teams failed to get any points on the first matchday, so this game is even more important. I'm sure Dynamo Kyiv expect three points tomorrow, and they have many reasons to do so: they have a great team, big players and [have made] a positive change to their coaching staff.
However, we have come here confident that we are able to get a good result. We are not going to be passive onlookers in this group – we will fight in every game. Our performance against Porto showed that we have the potential to play well against stronger teams. We showed a good level of football and I hope we will do the same tomorrow.
Dynamo Kyiv are under great mental pressure – that may help us. A draw would be a good result for us, because that would be an important point. We are preparing in our usual way, and although their appointment of a new coach will have a positive impact, it has changed nothing for us. We remember our 1-0 win against Dynamo in a pre-season friendly in Austria, but I don't think that result has any bearing on the game.
Saturday: Dinamo 3-1 HNK Hajduk Split (Sammir 37, 79pen, Čop 44; Caktaš 1)
Kelava; Vida, Šimunić, Tonel, Pivarić; Rukavina, Ademi, Kovačić (Krstanović 75), Sammir (Halilović 83); Čop, Beqiraj (Brozović 70).
• Alen Halilović became the youngest player ever to appear in the Croatian First League when he came on against Hajduk aged 16 years and 105 days.
Luis Ibáñez missed the weekend 'derby' with a knee injury and is doubtful. Ivan Kelava is expected to be fit after recovering from flu, while Ivan Tomečak has a pelvic problem.
Dinamo lost all six group games last season, including going down 2-0 at Olympique Lyonnais, 4-0 at AFC Ajax and 6-2 away to Real Madrid CF. They conceded 22 goals in that group stage – a UEFA Champions League record.