Shakhtar Karagandy Russian manager, Viktor Kumykov, gave an interview after their elimination of the Albanian champions in the last Champions League qualifier. He talked about his team, which, unlike some in former Soviet countries, does not have an oligarch benefactor or rich sponsor.
Kumykov thought four of his potential opponents were of equal standing, although he clearly respects Celtic’s recent achievements in the Champions League.
He said, “Getting through to the play offs round is historical achievement for the club and for Kazakh football. We hope this is for the start and we would play in Europe regularly. Even if we don’t go to the Champions League, we will play in UEFA Europa League, which means we will be in the elite of the European football.
“We have made it to the group stage of one of the European competitions, which was our main target. It does not mean we can rest now and say we will not fight for more, but our main target is Cup of Kazakhstan. We have never won it before.
“From a football perspective, I think it might be better for us to be in the Europa League than the Champions League. If we go through to the Champions League we will play against much better teams, where we can meet giant clubs. For this we would need to buy few players to strengthen the team. We short of depth and players I have at the moment would not cope with big competitions. I have no experienced players.
“It’s difficult to say who against I want to play. All five teams are better than us. Celtic is different story, they are apart from the others. That team played in the Champions League last season and got through to the knock out round. They beat Barcelona. They beat Spartak Moscow away and at home.
“The Other four are all similar class one to each other but they are all stronger than us. Each of them play at a higher level. The team God gives us will be the team we will play against. It makes no sense to say who we want.”
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