Andriy Shevchenko has spoken about qualifying for the 2020 EURO and about the rumours linking him with Milan.
Sheva achieved something incredible yesterday: securing qualification to the 2020 EURO with Ukraine, after beating reigning Champions Portugal at Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex.
The Rossoneri legend, who was mentioned as a possible alternative to the now-sacked Marco Giampaolo before Stefano Pioli arrived in the club, spoke to Sky Italia today about his successful journey with the national team.
“It was an incredible journey. I am really satisfied and happy with the atmosphere that was created. We beat a great team like Portugal, the boys were great and I didn’t expect a game like this,” he said.
“If I felt like the entire nation was pushing us as there was a resounding atmosphere at the stadium? It was incredibly emotional for me. In this stadium, I received a lot of applause as a player and now it’s the first time as a coach. I will never forget the match against Croatia, which we lost 2-0 in the World Cup qualifiers. It was the beginning of my journey as a coach but it was a good lesson. Now I’m satisfied because the team played well and reached a really important objective, winning against a great opponent and against one of the best players of all time – Cristiano Ronaldo.
“If Shevchenko the coach can become like Shevchenko the player? I completely left Shevchenko the player behind, he no longer exists; he is history. Now a new era has started for me, a path I want to follow and I’m happy to work for my national team. There are many more pressures, I threw myself into this new adventure without having any particular experience. But I believed, just like I believed in my staff because I have prepared people by my side.
“Where can we get in the EURO’s? The first thing we need to do is complete the team, keep working. If the guys play like the qualifiers then I see a good future. We’re never favorites, we’re a growing team and we don’t know where we can get. But as of now we’ve shown in the group stage that we’re solid and that we know how to play football.
“If Italy is a team to avoid? Certainly yes. We played against them in a friendly, they have many talents and a coach who’s doing a great job. I congratulate Mancini, he’s changed the face of Italy. If I felt indebted to this national team? I don’t think that I’m indebted, but I’m proud to be Ukrainian. I threw myself into this work, I believe in the guys and in the talents of my nation, and that stimulates me a lot.
“How did I react to the rumours that started when I was in Milano, that I was approached to become the Rossoneri bench? I was calm. I went to see the game [Atalanta-Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League]. I talked to my friends who came to see me, like Paolo Maldini and Demetrio Albertini. I played for 8 years at Milan and I have an incredible bond with this club and with the fans. I hope that things improve.
“If I have a dream? Doing well in the EURO’s. Then we’ll see where the road leads me…”