Alexander Khatskevich: Sasha Hleb owes fans

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On the eve of the EURO-2016 qualifying match against Macedonia head coach Alexander Khatskevich took part in a traditional press conference in the House of Football. Khatskevich complained on the fact that he couldn’t establish contact with FC Dinamo coach Dusan Uhrin, said the number one game was in third place in the national sports list and, of course, commented on the plans.

What do you know about your opponent?

We have watched the last four Macedonia’s qualifying matches. Today we have showed the match Macedonia vs Slovakia to our players. I should say that Macedonian home and away matches are completely different.

Is everything going according to the plan? Is anyone injured?

You know that Zhavnerchik didn’t come. As for the training process, we have no problems. The field is of good quality. Thus, we have all the necessary conditions for working. Today we have had check-ups that have shown no medical contraindications. As for the team general state… I would say it’s not perfect, but okay.

Have you already talked to the former head coaches Georgy Kondratyev and Andrey Zygmantovich?

Why are you so concerned about that? Actually, I’ve met Zygmantovich, but I haven’t managed to talk to Kondratyev yet.

Considering that the next qualifying round is in 2016, what should you do to have a competitive team in future?

First, I have to become acquainted with all the players. I do not know whether Kalachyov and Hleb will be motivated enough to compete. By the way, as for Sasha, he owes Belarusian fans. Of course you remember him play in German and English clubs. It’s desirable he show the same high level in the national team. We have young talented players, for instance, Mayevsky, Volodko.

But! It doesn’t mean the experienced football players will be replaced by the young ones. I repeat, we have promising players, but we have them few. There are no preconditions for a global team renewal. We can’t be indifferent to the upcoming matches. We have to maintain our country’s reputation. You should remember Sasha Hleb’s words: we are confident when the team wins.

What do you know about the national team of Gabon?

At the moment Macedonia is of great interest for us. We’ll talk later about Gabon.

Have you elected a team captain?

Not yet. Tomorrow our experienced players will meet to decide that. I think only the player with the largest number of performances in the national team should be the captain. All in all, we’ll see.

Last week you met the fans who had no a lively interest. What can you say about it?

You have answered the question: they weren’t interested. But I liked the fact that B-12 sector assured to support us in any situation and accept any result, but only if the team made efforts.

Alexander Nikolayevich, your coaching staff members are quiet young. Have you ever had a desire to let a more experienced specialist join you?

If you have candidates, feel free to advise somebody.

You pay attention to the team’s aggressive play, although the former coaches did the same…

If you think that we’ll have 5-6 forwards, you are wrong. Sometimes we have to defend more. For example, Macedonians believe that today it’s easy to defeat the Belarusians. Each team has its strong and weak points. We have to identify them. It’s hard to say whether we succeed. But for sure we’ll play aggressively.

Why Makas will play instead of Zhavnerchik?

As for Zhavnerchik, Polyakov can play at the right wing. So I see no problems. Other forwards, Yanush and Kirilenko, can play only on one position. Alexander is fast. I already know the Macedonian team squad. In particular, they have two tall centre backs. So we need a fast forward.

Does it mean that Makas has chances to take the field?/p>

Everyone has chances. We’ll see.

Did you manage to watch Belarusian Premier League matches?

I watched FC Vitebsk vs FC Dinamo Minsk. It was anti-football! The teams had the same aim – not to lose. I don’t like when all the team players are running towards the defender who holds the ball. It’s a must to move forward to have a chance to win. The more professional a football player is, the faster he adapts to my requirements.

In general, when they play in the artificial field, the match is different. The level is very law. Yanush says the field in Pinsk is horrible. Thanks to God, the guys did everything right. After such a match they could have been taken to hospital. If there’s a need for such a match in such weather in the artificial field, it shouldn’t be held in Pinsk. Football players have to minimize injuries.

Does Mayevsky have chances to play in the national team?

I talked to some Polish guys. They highly estimated him. If the player is invited to play in the national team, he must use this opportunity. Ivan is good at playing on his position, at tackling and heading. Maybe he needs a sharp first-time pass. While talking to me he confessed he was afraid to start attacking in Poland. However, he’s a strong player of the Polish Premier League that has a higher status than the Belarusian one.

While watching the last-year match Macedonia vs Ukraine, did you think that Belarusians would soon play against the Balkan team?

No, I didn’t. Moreover, at that time Belarusians were playing, so I followed their match.

Georgy Kondratyev had some difficulties in communicating with the Belarusian clubs’ head coaches. What about you?

At the moment I have no a good rapport with FC Dinamo head coach. Maybe he doesn’t want to contact with me. But I communicate with Kriushenko, Pyshnik, Borovsky, Yermakovich (head coaches of FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino, FC Minsk, FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk, FC BATE respectively).

Georgy Kondratyev didn’t pay much attention to Andrey Gorbunov, considering him mature enough a player to be the team leader. What is your opinion?

He is worth playing in the national team. He showed his best playing in his football club. If he’s good enough for the team, why not? It’s not only my personal opinion. The goalkeeper coach thinks the same. And as for Kondratyev, each coach has the right to think what he wants. 30, 35, 40 years old, I see no difference. 40-year-old Shovkovsky is one of the team’s leaders. Any problems?

You criticize the Belarusian football. Are you ready for your colleagues’ reactions?

It’s my opinion. Why should I keep silence? I know the football infrastructure in Ukraine and Russia. Today, we have only one licensed stadium. There are great stadiums in Grodno, Brest and Gomel, but they didn’t get the UEFA license. If football players had 20-30 % of what hockey players have, they would be incredibly happy. You see, in Belarus hockey is sport No.1, followed by biathlon. It turns out Belarus is a kind of a winter country…

Could you share the information about the starting line-up?

I would say, I haven’t made a final decision yet. Anything may happen; I wouldn’t like to give this information.

Wouldn’t you like to start your head coach career with a friendly match?

Certainly I would. But I can’t change the schedule. All in all, I don’t think the current situation is bad.

Alexander Martynovich was also asked some questions at the press conference.

You won the last match against Mexico. What about those positive emotions?

It was so long ago and with another coach. Now we have a different game plan. We played great against Mexicans. But it was a friendly match, and it took place 4 months ago.

It seems that there’re no clear aims in the qualifying round. What motivates you?

Everything depends on the result. We need points, we have to be confident, so, our aim is to get 3 points (to win) and to get into a good rhythm.

What does your coaching staff say about the opponent?

They say Macedonia loves attacking. So, we need to go fast from defense to attack and use free zones. By the way, we started working on it.

Text and pictures by Pressball.by