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Apr 29, 2013

Shakhtar win fourth straight title

Shakhtar Donetsk have claimed a fourth successive Ukrainian Premier League title following their 1-1 draw with Metalist Kharkiv on Sunday.

Shakhtar moved to 71 competition points, having lost just one match all season, as Ilsinho rescued a point late on to cancel out Marko Devic's first-half opener.

Despite the achievement, coach Mircea Lucescu was scathing of his players' performance, accusing them of complacency after the match.

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

"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."

Lucescu, though, remains confident he will remain at the helm next campaign to oversee a fifth-straight title triumph.

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

"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," he explained.

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