Lucescu worried about Real Madrid challenge

The coach admits starting the Champions League with a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu is not ideal but insists his team must be respected

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu believes his side have the worst possible start to their Champions League clash with an away clash against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The pair, who are drawn in the same group as Paris Saint-Germain and Malmo, meet in the Santiago Bernabeu with Rafael Benitez’s men favourites to open with a win.

And Lucescu admits he would rather have started with a home game and feels Madrid are one of the strongest teams his side could face in the competition.

“Real Madrid are a super club with top-level organisation,” he  told reporters. “It’s not ideal to begin against a team like that and Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have an advantage starting at home.

“Rafael Benitez is a great strategist and has a tactical system to build a good game.

“We want to show we can play at a very high level and prove to people that we are the best team in Eastern Europe. Our team is strong and I trust my players. We want to be respected.”

But while Lucescu seemed concerned at the prospect of facing Madrid away from home, Shakhtar attacking midfielder Taison reminded his team-mates they must not lose the game mentally before the first whistle is blown.

“It will be a good game,” the Brazilian told Shakhtar’s website.

“No one can win a match in advance. Both teams have equal chances.”

Taison added that Shakhtar should embrace the challenge of facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. at one of Europe’s premier stadiums.

“I’m doing the best thing in the world – I play football. I think anyone wants to face such teams as Real Madrid,” he said.

“The only thing we need is to achieve a positive result in Spain. We will fight for it.”

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