Coach unfazed by Russia's bad run

MOSCOW • Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov is unconcerned despite his side extending their winless run to seven matches, following a 1-1 home draw against Turkey in their last warm-up game before the World Cup kicks off next week.

"I don't think there's any need to worry," he said on Tuesday after the match. "Today is only June 5 and our (opening World Cup) game is June 14 at 6pm, if I remember rightly. There's still enough time."

Wolfsburg midfielder Yunus Malli came off the bench at half-time to cancel out Spartak Moscow right winger Alexander Samedov's 35th-minute opener and deny World Cup hosts Russia a first win in eight months.

The Russians were also on the back of three consecutive defeats prior to the Turkey draw.

"We never point fingers. I need to look back at the game and learn from it. I can say something right now, but talk is cheap. I need to rewatch the game and make appropriate changes," added Cherchesov.

"The draw seems to be the most fair result though we could have scored more goals today.

"I think we've made a qualitative leap ahead by comparison to the match with Austria (1-0 defeat)."

Aleksander Samedov scoring past Turkey goalkeeper Serkan Kirintili at Moscow's VEB Arena to open accounts for Russia on Tuesday. But the visitors equalised to stretch the World Cup hosts' winless spell to seven games.
Aleksander Samedov scoring past Turkey goalkeeper Serkan Kirintili at Moscow's VEB Arena to open accounts for Russia on Tuesday. But the visitors equalised to stretch the World Cup hosts' winless spell to seven games. PHOTO: REUTERS

Russia now have five wins, six draws and nine defeats since Cherchesov took over in August 2016. And his attempts to put on a brave face despite the poor form angered many Russians.

"Everything's bad," declared yesterday's front page of Sport Express daily, which said the national side's play had dampened the mood of fans in the country.

"With such a performance from our national team, our chances look pretty low," school teacher Daniil Pospelov, who watched the Turkey match from a Moscow pub, told AFP. "We need to learn how to attack constructively to get a result regardless of whether the opponents make mistakes or not."

Former Manchester United player and Russian international Andrei Kanchelskis also told Sport Express: "I don't grieve for Cherchesov and his plans. For me, his ideas are ridiculous and unreal.

"I'm worried about our footballers. I just cannot grieve for the ridiculous coaching team that destroys our football."

Russia kick off their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia in Group A at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14 and also face Egypt in St Petersburg on June 19 and Uruguay in Volgograd on June 25.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Coach unfazed by Russia's bad run'. Print Edition | Subscribe