Shakhtar seal title but Lucescu enraged by poor performance

The surly 67-year-old Romanian accused his players of complacency but he is still backing them to win a fifth consecutive championship next year
Shakhtar Donetsk clinched their fourth successive Ukrainian Premier League title on Sunday but coach Mircea Lucescu was not impressed by his players' performance in their 1-1 draw with Metalist at the Donbass Arena.

The hosts looked set to succumb to Marko Devic's goal just before the break, but they snatched a championship-winning point through Ilsinho with just six minutes to go.

Lucescu was delighted that Shakhtar had sealed the title but he felt that they had been guilty of complacency during the first half.

The Romanian told his club's official website: "We knew the players’ thoughts: 'We'll win the league title anyway, if not today, then in the next game.' And so on.

"I asked the lads to properly approach today's match, respecting themselves and the opponents but in the first half, we played below our capabilities.

"In the second half, though, everything changed on the pitch. I would like to mention the character of two players in this regard - Fernandinho and [Dario] Srna.

"They showed by their game that they couldn’t leave the pitch today without winning the title. They were a sparkplug for the rest. Ultimately, I think the result corresponds to what happened on the field, though both teams could win.

"Since we became the champions today, I want to congratulate all the players. And to wish them to respect this title before the end of the league season - in all the remaining matches."

Despite his disappointment with the way in which Shakhtar limped over the finishing line, Lucescu expects another successful title defence from his charges next season.

"If I'm not happy here, being so angry, it shows that I still have the desire and enthusiasm for the league," he reasoned.

"While I have this strength - to take offence at the way the team plays poorly and to find the words to motivate them, as well as to pass my enthusiasm onto the players on the field of play - this means that we will again fight for the title next year."

Shakhtar's draw with Metalist moved them 15 points clear of their opponents, who are tied for second with Dynamo Kiev, with just four games to play.