Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk hires new coach before facing Barcelona in the Champions League

Updated Oct. 24, 2023 3:34 p.m. ET

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk appointed Marino Pušić as its new coach on Tuesday, a day before a Champions League game against Barcelona.

The 52-year-old Bosnian coach joins from Dutch champion Feyenoord, where he was assistant to coach Arne Slot, and has been given a contract through the end of the 2025-26 season. Pušić replaces Patrick van Leeuwen, who was fired last week after just 12 games in charge.

Despite announcing the signing of Pušić hours earlier, sporting director Darijo Srna represented Shakhtar in Barcelona at the pre-game news conference Tuesday in his capacity as caretaker coach. Srna said Shakhtar was working to ensure Pušić would be able to join him on the bench for Wednesday's game at Barcelona.

Srna oversaw a 3-0 win over LNZ Cherkasy on Saturday which left Shakhtar third in the Ukrainian league. Shakhtar is third in Group H in the Champions League behind Barcelona and Porto.


Shakhtar is playing its Champions League home games in the German city of Hamburg because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


AP soccer: