FC Shakhtar Donetsk vs Sporting Braga - Lucescu only focused on Braga

Posted Thursday, April 14, 2016 by PA

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu is refusing to let speculation over the future of Brazilian striker Taison affect preparations for his side's UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against Sporting Braga.

The Ukrainian side go into the game as strong favourites to progress to the last four after last week's 2-1 first leg win in Portugal - only for the striker to subsequently suggest that his future might be better off elsewhere.

Lucescu insists Taison will remain a key part of his side for the second leg clash, with Marcio Azevedo ruled out with a knee injury, Vyacheslav Shevchuk facing a late test and Yaroslav Rakitsiky suspended.

Lucescu said: "I don't think he wants to leave Ukraine and Shakhtar - maybe he has just reached a certain level which allows him to think of playing in a stronger league.

"If the club receives a good offer and agrees to it, why can't a player dream of playing in a stronger league? Taison is our best player these days, and with each match he becomes the leader of our attacking performance."

Lucescu's men did not enjoy the best of preparations for the second leg after a disappointing domestic draw at Stal Dniprodzerzhynsk on Sunday which left them five points behind Ukrainian Premier League leaders Dynamo Kiev.

But they will still be expected to have too much for Braga, who gave themselves hope thanks to Wilson Eduardo's goal in injury time in the first leg, and who insist they will travel with confidence.

Braga warmed up for the game with a goalless draw against Moreirense in which they once again had to wait until injury time before grabbing a point through Willy Boly.

Coach Paulo Fonseca said: "It worries me how the players will recover for Thursday, but the late goal shows the belief of our players. We never give up and we go into this game wanting to transform what everyone considers certain elimination into qualifying for the next phase."



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