Key to Ukraine getting through UEFA EURO qualifying for the first time, Andriy Yarmolenko hopes to providing similar inspiration for Dynamo Kyiv at Porto on Tuesday.
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Last week, Andriy Yarmolenko was key to Ukraine getting through UEFA EURO qualifying for the first time; now he is applying himself to providing similar inspiration for Dynamo Kyiv.
The 26-year-old winger is in his fifth UEFA Champions League campaign for Dynamo and is yet to experience the knockout phase; indeed, the club have had ten straight group exits since last progressing in 1998/99, when a team containing current coach Serhiy Rebrov made the semi-finals.
A 2-1 loss at Chelsea on matchday four left Dynamo third in Group G, two points behind the Blues, and the Ukrainian champions know anything other than a win away to leaders Porto on Tuesday could end their hopes of making the round of 16.
The current Ukrainian player of the year, Yarmolenko spoke to UEFA.com about the trip to Porto, Dynamo's run of group exits, his opening goal in the 2-0 win at Maccabi Tel-Aviv and the importance of Rebrov's experience.
On playing Porto ...
Our coaching staff instils in us an aggressive style both in defence and attack, so we can control the ball and attack rather than defend. We will need to play like that in Portugal. If we do that, we'll get our three points.
On ending a run of ten group-stage exits ...
We have a good coaching staff, there are a lot of young players, and there is a mix of youth and experience in the team. Everyone believes in each other, and believes that we can do it. And why not? If we play good football we can do anything.
On his goal against Maccabi ...
Of course it is a special feeling, because you're playing in the best club tournament in Europe. When you score a goal you are overwhelmed with emotion. There are not many moments like that, and I wish there could be more.
On what Dynamo mean to him ...
Dynamo have done a lot for me – it is probably my second family. If there was no Dynamo in my life, I don't know where I would be. This club has made me what I am now. And I am grateful for that.
On coach Rebrov, who played in the last Dynamo team to get out of their group ...
As with every man who lives his life and always learns new things, that experience will be useful for Serhiy. But you should understand that being a player is one thing and being a coach is another. I think being a coach is a bit more difficult.
On Dynamo's aims for the competition ...
I won't tell you that we're aiming to win the tournament, because we understand what kind of teams are taking part in it. The initial aim is to qualify from the group. I think that for us that would be a small step forward.