Russian national team has defeated Czech Republic 5-1 in an international friendly in Rostov-on-Don on Monday, the 10th of September.
Coach Stanislav Cherchesov took questions from journalists at a press conference that followed after the match.
Stanislav Cherchesov: Fans were amazing, I am glad that we decided to play here in Rostov
— You said yesterday that this match was going to be a nice opportunity to examine some of the reserve players and let them manifest their best skills. Are you happy about their performance?
— We played against the Czech Republic national team that is known for certain skills and qualities. We made serious preparations to this match. Players in the starting lineup were found to be better ready and corresponded to our tactical plan. And then we gave several players an opportunity to show their best. You can be pleased by certain things and then there are things that need to be modified and corrected. This is normal and it is always like this. I am happy about the team’s mindset. Almost everything that we had planned for this match was fulfilled.
— It is amazing when fans are happy about team’s performance in an international friendly and this does not happen often. Unlike the World Cup tournament, there are certain time breaks between UEFA Nations League matches and international friendlies. How are you planning to maintain the national team’s mindset during the coming month to ensure physical preparedness, ball possession and pressing?
— Before we started this camp your colleagues had inquired about the choice of players, asking why certain players were not invited to the squad. I said it then and can repeat it now that only players who are best prepared as of now had been invited. The same thing will happen next month. We are not going to be guided by the players’ performance tonight. This match is history now. A fine history indeed but footballers need to be ready in a month’s time. We made certain conclusions and it appears that we were inviting players with potentially best performance but we could not prepare them to matches during two or three days we had. So we have decided to focus on inviting players who possess certain skills and are best ready here and now. A few players we had in the squad manifested their skills tonight. I already told the players that we need to forget this match and this camp. We will invite players who are in their best conditions for the next camp. Two players – Sorokin and Stotsky – made their debut for the national team. Ionov scored his first goals for the national. So the team goes on living.
—We need to accept that the visiting team may not be so good. But you performed very well anyway. I know that you will keep from criticizing or praising individual players in public, but is there anything you are not happy about in our performance?
— We have already analysed that after the match in Turkey and stressed that we need to keep as much as possible from making unenforced mistakes. If we play tennis and I keep hitting the net when delivering serves all the time, my opponent will not need to make any efforts to win. Same thing goes for football. We lost possession a few times when that was completely unnecessary. And when you lose possession, the opposing side gains initiative and you need to work at winning a tackle. Of course, this does not happen on purpose but we lacked composure and correct assessment of the situation in certain moments. We need to work on that to make a transition to a new, higher level. And if this happens, we will make a step forward in developing our skills. The match started as planned, as we showed a powerful performance with high pressing in the opening minutes and scored an early goal. I am also very thankful to fans. I don’t know if our performance or fan support was better. The fans were amazing, I am glad that we decided to play here in Rostov.
— Rostov player Aleksey Ionov scored twice today. Do you consider any other Rostov players as potential candidates to the national team?
— Our doors are open to everybody. And we have always proved this thesis to be true. We analyse player performance carefully and have almost everybody in consideration. So all players who are eligible to play for the Russian national may appear in the squad if they are worthy of that and the situation is right. Their task is showing the best performance and manifesting their best skills. And we will judge their performance and consider their potential within the national team context. There are certain circumstances that always must be taken into consideration. But as I said, we keep our eyes on all players and monitor their performance closely. Ionov appears for Rostov now but I coached him in Dynamo Moscow for two years and I am perfectly aware of the skills he displayed tonight.
— The national team experienced certain problems with centre-backs until now. You and your predecessors struggled with a limited choice of players to this position. You tested new players during the last matches. Is the performance of our defenders something you are happy about?
— My predecessors had Berezutsky brothers and Ignashevich at their disposal. And we have some choice now but you are focusing at player names while we focus mostly on player skills. Every footballer has certain skills that must be appreciated and further developed. I would like to stress that we envy no man, we appreciate what we have and we need to make our players even stronger and better. We had this lineup today but Kutepov and Dzhikia may also appear in the next match. Dzhikia was a substitute today because we decided to save him after his injury. Vasin is still recovering. Ignashevich attends our training sessions and gives valuable advices. So everything is on track.
— Did you take into consideration that Ionov appears for Rostov in making your decision regarding the starting lineup? Are things like that important for footballers?
— No. It might be an additional motivation for a footballer to play in his hometown but I did not take this into consideration. He was called up to the squad and we were preparing him for the match. He appeared for a few minutes in the end of the previous match so that he could get a feeling of the national team environment. We knew that we have a match against Czech Republic ahead and we knew certain details we were preparing him to. So the host city does not have anything to do with that.
— Game tactics are based on physical limitations of players. It looked like that was the fastest football performed for a long time. Was this due to our players’ merits or you will demand this of everybody in the squad?
— We played two different matches and we must keep from under- or overestimations. You are right in mentioning that we performed a rather fast football today. But we also performed at the World Cup where a much faster football was performed. So we do not give way to overestimations. We have fulfilled our plan for the match. We played against a certain team today and we were guided by that. I am confident that if we were to play against France today, we would perform a fast but more defense-oriented football. We are preparing to play against certain teams and I am glad that we took right decisions and footballers fulfilled their assignments. As the saying goes, we are growing together. I am also happy that the match was a joy to fans in Rostov and across Russia. We look forward to seeing everybody in Kaliningrad and Sochi next month.