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Legia Warsaw – Leicester City in the European League. Białowski: The players’ speed and counter-attack are amazing

Legia Warsaw - Leicester City in the European League.  Białowski: The players' speed and counter-attack are amazing

Artur Szczepanik, Interia: Do Legia have any chances in the match against the top club of the strongest league in the world?

Bartosz Byakovsky: Not in theory, but every match is different, and surprises of a different caliber happen in football almost every day. Even though Leicester did not play with us as the strongest team, it was clear that they arranged this match the way they wanted. They dominated the game all the time when they wanted to speed up, when they wanted to calm down and hold the ball longer. I was amazed by the high quality of their attackers. Up front, they were impressed by their speed and was supported by Belgian Youri Tielemans. He made a huge impression on me, he recognized, played, accelerated. A difficult match awaits Legia, but I believe in coach Czeslav Micniewicz. He is able to arrange one-on-one team meetings and choose suitable tactics for the opponent.

A few substitutes played against Millwall. Just as in the Europa League match against Napoli (2-2), when Jamie Vardy, Tillmans, James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira sat on the bench. Is this a chance for Legia if Leicester can save the best players again?

– I don’t know what their team will look like, but I think it will be strong, because “Lese” must look for the points they lost to Napoli at home. Sure, even if he played on the bench, the squad would be very strong anyway. The reserve that played against us looked great. We also did not play in the strongest classification, for example, I did not play, which is very regrettable, because I would like to play against such a sweet opponent. But in the FA Cup, we always have a backup goalkeeper. We lost goals stupidly, the first after a mistake, the second after a counter-attack. In my opinion, counterattacks are Leicester’s most powerful weapons. They have very fast players – Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ademola Lookman are very fast players who come out on the counter in no time. In the second half, a player I did not know appeared on the field at all. His name is Batson Dhaka (a Zambian came in July from Salzburg for €25m – opening note) and he turned out to be faster than the others! I liked it so quickly that it came out to counterattack, so I asked my colleague on the bench who is he? And he replied, “He’s such a footballer that when you play FIFA, you bring him to the other half.” But don’t let their Millwall tactic confuse them, because Leicester is a team that can play the game the same way and do counter attacks.

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So we don’t have the English ‘kick and run’, what to expect in Legia on Thursday?

Even in the tournament, hardly anyone plays that way. When a long ball “goes”, it is better to change something on the field, or start building movements in the opponent’s half. Since I came to England in 2006, a lot has changed in this regard. There is no such strong classic “nine” in Leicester, but they are also dangerous when playing in the penalty area, because Vardy and Ihanacho play with great headers. Often times, I expect to throw balls behind the backs of defenders. Leicester’s strikers love to race with them in these situations.

England is also famous for the amazing rhythm of the game. Coach Mitchinewicz joked that when he watched Leicester and Napoli with the players, Josue asked him why they were watching so fast.

– You run here differently from Poland. You can look at the statistics and you can see that football players in Ekstraklasa run much more, up to 110-120 km per match. Here the difference is 105-108 km. The thing is that in Poland he runs at a constant pace, and in England he does several sprints.

And Legia plays on Thursday without the injured Artur Boruc.

– I heard and I think it would be a big weakness because he’s a great goalkeeper. However, I will not delete Cezary Miszta. If Legia’s coaches say she’s a great talent, she must be. Even if he has been exhausted recently in the Polish Cup and in the League, it does not mean that he will be the same in the European League. If you succeed, you will gain self-confidence, and it will be a completely different meeting. He’ll have a lot of work for 90 minutes, after which the goalkeeper’s focus is completely different. This boy is definitely skilled. He still lacks experience, and that experience is gained in matches like Leicester.

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Leicester and Legia had a poor start in the league. So are your Millwall guys.

Many epidemics haunt us, like a tie. We drew six matches out of nine. This is because we are suffering from an epidemic of injuries in the team. There hasn’t been a match yet for everyone to be healthy. On top of that, we’re also on the hunt for COVID-19. I am now alone in London because my family is in quarantine. At Millwall, one or two players have been absent all the time since the start of the season. I hope we’ve reached the limit of bad luck, because I hope we can play in the tournament like we did last season, when we were usually at the top of the table. I signed a new two-season contract in the summer and I’m going to fill it in, because I feel good at this club.

Nothing abnormal. Last season you had the most clean sheets in the entire tournament – 16, which the “Golden Gloves” got. You’re a Millwall fan favorite, being judged in England… Exactly, how?

– There are others. They react differently to any other English stadium. We have a great atmosphere on the field, and when we win, the atmosphere is great. We have the best cheer, the crowd is noisy. We recently played away from Cardiff City and bought tickets for friends who have kids. They were sitting with Millwall fans and during the match someone approached them and told them to leave the field or move somewhere far away, because in a moment there would be an argument. And indeed, not long after that, a bustle broke out … I heard a lot about our fans and I know that today strange things are no longer happening here as they were years ago, but when I first played here and my wife with the kids came to the stadium, because she kept their ears closed throughout the match until They don’t hear all the cheers and screams. I’m glad our fans are so loud. Then I play better.

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At the tournament, I met Matty Cash, who is now roaring in Poland, who played in Nottingham Forest before coming to Aston Villa a year ago.

– I read about him that there are even five reasons why he wanted to play for the Polish national team – Walker, Trippier, Alexander Arnold etc. In my opinion, his condition is different. He has a Polish mother, which is not a case, for example, Emmanuel Olisadebe. He is entitled to a passport, if he has it, why not get an appointment? He’s going to be useful to us, he’s a very good player and he’s been in a very good shape lately. I am like that.

Maybe I said goodbye to acting.

– I was in it for a short time, but it was a huge adventure. I fulfilled my childhood dreams, and I went to the World Cup in Russia. I was already in my thirties so I wasn’t impressed with being the third goalkeeper. Recently, I was listening to Kamil Grabara, who said he would never agree to go to the national team as a third goalkeeper. However, everyone has their own approach. It wasn’t a problem for me, I knew how good my competition was. I was happy to go to the World Cup. It was a very interesting adventure that I will remember for the rest of my life. I have a few friends left from those times. Sometimes we call or write to each other with Maciek Rybus or Kamil Grosicki.

And Artur Jodrzeczyk didn’t call after the match against Leicester and didn’t ask about the English?

There is a lot of connection with “eat”. He never answers the phone or texts. Coach Mitchinewicz hasn’t contacted either of them, and we know each other very well – this is my coach from Olympia Elblig since the beginning of his career. But knowing him, there’s nothing to ask me about, for Lester had been working before Legia attracted him.

Speak Artur Shchepanek

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