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14.11.2011, 11:47
Iulia Managarova: "Ukraine can be a force again"
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Solid start and revenge against Iceland in the EHF EURO 2012 qualification matches.
 

Iulia Managarova: "Ukraine can be a force again"

The Ukrainian women’s national team has enjoyed a great start to the EHF EURO 2012’s qualification stage, with back-to-back wins against Switzerland and Iceland. Right-winger Iulia Managarova talks about Ukraine’s ambitions in this group and the changes made to the national team during 2011.



ehf-euro.com: Ukraine have started with a perfect record in the qualification stage. How difficult were the games against Switzerland and Iceland?



Iulia Managarova: We are very happy with our display in the first two games. I would be lying if I said both games were very difficult. Ukraine played very well against Switzerland. We controlled the game and managed to win by a good margin.



Against Iceland, we were expecting a tense match. We’ve played against them before and we knew that they can be dangerous. We had to fight for every ball, but we gave everything on the pitch and managed to scrape a hard-fought win. That’s the most important thing: we are now closer to qualifying for EHF EURO 2012.



ehf-euro.com: Your team was eliminated from the World Championship qualifying phase by Iceland. How did you feel after winning on ‘their own turf’ less than a year after the big defeat?



Iulia Managarova: We felt wonderful, because we were delivered a huge blow in June in Reykjavik. After our elimination, several things changed with our national team. For instance, our coach, Leonid Yevtushenko was replaced by Leonid Ratner.

I hope that everything will now go according to plan, because each coach has his, or her, own ideas, and a different tactical approach to the game.



I’m not really the person to ask whether this change has had a good or a bad impact on our team, but I do know that the players are doing everything we can to win for Ukraine. We hope that everything will play out well and Ukraine will be competing once again in an EHF EURO Final Tournament.



ehf-euro.com: You spoke about some of the changes that Ukraine’s national handball team had to make after you lost the qualification for the World Championship in Brazil. What other changes were made to ensure avoiding such defeats?



Iulia Managarova: Well, the biggest one was, of course, Mr. Yetvtushenko’s departure as a coach. However, Mr. Ratner has a lot of experience, and he guided Ukraine to one of the greatest performances in our history, the bronze medal won at Athens in 2004, during the Olympic Games.

He is very enthusiastic right now and he is trying to make us forget about the bad start of the year. I think our win in Iceland helped this cause and we are right back on track.



A big problem for Ukraine is the strength of the national championship. Mr. Ratner has a very tough job in finding players for our national team. We are not Denmark, or Norway, and it’s extremely hard to put together a team with our limited resources.



ehf-euro.com: You’ve already won two matches, but Ukraine has not met Spain yet. Do you think your team is able to win against one of the best teams in Europe right now?



Iulia Managarova: The matches against Spain will be the main attractions of this group, that’s sure. Unfortunately, it’s too early to tell if we will be able to win against them.

There is still a long way to go until March. If we are in good shape, I have no doubt that Ukraine can be dangerous for Spain. I trust our coach, and I trust my team-mates, and we’ll do everything we can to win the matches and the group.



ehf-euro.com: In the games against Switzerland and Iceland, you were one of Ukraine’s best players. Has your transfer to Oltchim helped you to become a better handball player?



Iulia Managarova: It’s a no-brainer, really. Oltchim is a great team, with great players. We are trying to win the EHF Champions League this season and in order to achieve this objective, all the girls are pushing very hard.

I’ve grown a lot as a player in Ramnicu Vâlcea at Oltchim and right now I’m also looking forward to helping Ukraine to be one of the best sides in European handball.

Further Information

Find more information on the Women's EHF EURO 2012 Qualification HERE.

View more detailed information on the event on the Official EHF EURO 2012 Website.
www.ehf-euro.com/NED2012/

Join the growing community of fans of the event on Facebook!
www.facebook.com/NED2012


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu
 
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