A press conference with the participation of Russian national team manager Stanislav Cherchesov took place at St Petersburg Stadium’s media centre on Friday, 16th of May.
- How are your preparations to the Confederations Cup going on?
– Our preparations have been on schedule. We did suffer some injuries though, but that happens to all teams. Right now we have 23 players in our squad and each of them is ready to play tomorrow. The weather is great, we are going to play at an amazing stadium with a newly repaired pitch. So we anticipate a fine match tomorrow.
– Do you find it unfair that if you beat New Zealand, everybody will take this for granted and forget shortly but if Russia does not win everybody will call a definite failure?
– We do not like the ‘if’ word so we better leave it aside. We have a match ahead, it is the opening match of the tournament and everything will be decided on the pitch. “If” means a doubt and if you have doubts you have lost already. We are getting ready for a fine match and will see what happens.
– Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the national team must show commitment and play for spectators. Do you find these words encouraging or imposing extra responsibility?
– If the President speaks of the national team at such a big forum, it means that we are not taken indifferently. He also mentioned that we showed an obvious progress which means that the President closely observes our matches. So both criticism and support came side by side. The President watches us closely and wishes us success.
– Are you preparing specifically to any players in New Zealand’s lineup?
– I had a long and warm conversation with New Zealand’s coach in Kazan. We had a theoretical study with our squad today, and another one before that. So we know who appears for New Zealand and how they play. But I would not like to focus on any specific players now.
– Is it difficult coaching the national team that have not had successes for a long time?
– We changed many things. And we find it a privilege to represent our country. We select players who must represent our country worthily today. Our national team did have victories although those were not as frequent as one would wish. I wouldn't say in the past years we have been winning a lot of tournaments, but of course we want to achieve more than we have achieved in the past several years in terms of football.
– Will anybody have to sit the match against New Zealand out due to injuries?
– Everybody is fine and the entire squad is getting ready to the match. There are indeed some minor injuries but everybody in the squad is ready to play tomorrow.
– Have you seen the pitch yet? Is it ready for the match?
– You can feel the pitch only once you are playing. It looks fine and much better than during two Russian Premier League matches when the arena just opened. I tried it in sneakers today but I did not perform any actions and could not make it any worse. So it remains a question what happens during the match – we can get back to the subject of the pitch after the match. Visually, it looks fine now. The staff in charge of the pitch did a great job during the little time that they had.
– Is it true that Russian national team is planning a test match against Brazil?
– We have a clear power division. This question can only be answered by the President or the General Director of the Russian Football Union. They have a clearer idea of the progress of negotiations and I would rather not mislead you on this subject. I would definitely support the idea of playing a match against Brazil. It would be a useful match and we will have something to learn from them. Especially that we can open another football stadium with this match.
– Is it going to help Russia during World Cup 2018 that the squad is entirely domestic-based?
– You are a happy person if you can plan something so far in advance. Our objective is here and now. Our thoughts are about the first match with a fine and interesting team. And as for what happens in the future... Some football players keep improving and some do not. Some players get injured and some get successful or unsuccessful transfer experience. So I would like to stress that we are focused on the current tournament and after it is over we will analyse how we are going to keep improving and developing.
– Have you been informed about changes in the game rules?
– Valentin Ivanov provided the coaching staff and the entire squad with all the details.
– Are you going to have one or two strikers in the starting lineup tomorrow?
– That is a correct question. We tried one scheme in match against Hungary and another against Chile. We will have to make clear about certain details during the workout today. And I am not going to tell how many strikers you will see tomorrow even if I know already.