Homeless Shakhtar are struggling, says Lucescu

Political unrest in the east of Ukraine forced the club to vacate their home and, ahead of Wednesday’s tie with Bayern, their coach revealed the extent of their issues

Losing their stadium, supporters and home city has ruined Shakhtar Donetsk’s motivation, according to coach Mircea Lucescu.

Shakhtar have been playing their matches in Lviv since July last year due to pro-Russian separatists taking control of Donetsk and the deadly fighting in eastern Ukraine shows no sign of abating.

Ahead of the club’s Champions League last 16 second leg at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, in which they will attempt to build on the 0-0 result from the opening leg, Lucescu revealed the sapped morale within his ranks.

“This is a very difficult situation for us. It’s hard to motivate the players,” he told reporters. “We have lost so much, even the sympathy of our fans.

“Few people come to our games, but that’s also because we don’t play in our home. People in Lviv see us as a team from the east and that is very difficult for us. We’re working under very difficult conditions.

“Therefore, it is very difficult to motivate the team and deal with the situation. Also, the players can’t hide from that.”

Pep Guardiola’s men have looked rampant in recent matches and the 69-year-old lauded his Bayern counterpart as one of the top trainers throughout his long career in football.

“In my career I’ve rarely seen such a good coach,” Lucescu added. “We haven’t got a great friendship because we have played against each other often.

“Though you might remember that we lost against his Barcelona in the 2010-11 Champions League quarter-finals.

“Bayern have outstanding players. If you have a look at their squad, their players are among the strongest in Europe. We simply want to do ourselves proud and play good football.”