Lucescu defends Fred selection amid doping allegations
Mircea Lucescu has defended his decision to ignore a UEFA request for Fred to be omitted from Shakhtar Donetsk's clash with Fenerbahce on Tuesday amid reports the midfielder failed a doping test during the Copa America.
Brazil international Fred is said to have tested positive for banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide during the recent tournament in Chile and could face a long ban if a second sample confirms a breach of doping regulations.
The 22-year-old was named in the Shakhtar starting line-up for the Champions League third qualifying round clash in Istanbul, which ended goalless.
And the Ukrainian club's coach Lucescu explained why he chose to select Fred despite being asked by Europe's governing body to leave him out.
He told reporters: "It is very difficult to talk about it. Before the game, the UEFA recommended that he shouldn't take part in the match.
"But there was no official document, and this recommendation was informal. The results of the second test have not yet been announced. I talked to the team and personally to the player.
"When a formal decision is made, then, naturally, we will follow it. It's hard to say what happened. Perhaps the doctor of Brazil national team should be responsible for that.
"I do not think that a footballer who runs 13 kilometres per game needs any pills. We are waiting for the result of the second sample, then there will be something to comment on.
"I will be deeply distressed if the 20-year-old (sic) man gets punished or suspended for a certain period."