13 August 2019. MFC Mykolaiv full back Roman Kunev is enjoying the evening sunshine in Shevchenka Park, ruminating:

I’m glad we moved to Mykolaiv. I mean, when I was with Girnyk Sport in Horisni Plavni, life was fine. But I prefer it down by the coast. The air relaxes me.

As for the club, it’s pretty decent. The facilities are poor though: when the commercial manager claims they have ‘good facilities’ all he means is they’re geared up to do a little corporate entertaining.

Coaching staff are decent — including the defence coach, Nazarenko. Not much older than me but well established here because he played for the club for a couple of years.

There’s only one thing really bothering me. A condition of my signing is that the gaffer would strengthen the defence.

I insisted on that: for one thing, the current defence is nothing to write home about; and, for another, having obtained a good clean-sheet bonus (3% of my annual wage), I want players around me good enough to prevent the goals going in.

But I’ve been disappointed by the progress towards fulfilling that promise. Or lack of progress, I should say. First, he exited a couple of defenders — both right-backs like me.

From what I saw of them, they’re no great loss. But it leaves us with even less depth than when I came here. I’m now the only out-and-out right-back.

We’ve been starting games with only one true defender on the bench. It’s not a good look.

He has just brought in Artem Yarmolenko. I can see he’s a decent utility defender. Can play in the centre and on the right — and because he’s left-footed could no doubt do a job on that side too.

But frankly I think he’s underwhelming. I suspect he lacks will-power and courage. The Yarmolenkos of this world help with depth, but not quality.

I do hope the Gaffer’s not under the impression that this is enough to fulfil his promise to me. I quite like the guy and would hate to find I’ve been brought in under false pretences.

We need more at the back, full stop.

 

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