For the match of the qualifying stage of the 2022 World Cup with Slovenia, the Russian national team was initially set up as a battle for six points. The head coach of the team Stanislav Cherchesov announced this after the home victory. According to him, he told his charges that the one who shows character will be stronger. The specialist also spoke about the new arrangement with a diamond in the middle of the field, explained why in the end he released 19-year-old debutant Maxim Mukhin to replace him, and spoke about the state of health of Alexander Golovin.
– Even before the match, we said that we will have a game for six points. Slovenes turned out to be stronger than Croatia and arrived in Sochi in a good mood. Russia also won a victory, but over an opponent of a completely different class. Malta with the current bronze medalist of the World Championship is still incomparable. Again, we tuned in for a six-point battle. The Slovenes have a good organized team. Moreover, she has not known defeat since 2019. The opponents have world-class performers – Jan Oblak and Josip Ilicic, and there are other good players. We did too, so there was no doubt that the game would turn out great. At the pre-match setup, I said that we should tip the scales in our favor, and the team that shows character will win. We ended up being more fortunate.
– It was the first time you used a scheme with a rhombus in the center of the field, and Rifat Zhemaletdinov, before Alexei Miranchuk came out, occupied the same position at the top as in Lokomotiv. Why did you decide to use this model, and also play three central defenders?
– We always study the opponent and see who is better prepared with us. Based on this, we decided to try the rhombus. Zhemaletdinov acted at its top, as in Lokomotiv, so he felt comfortable. And the rate for five defenders turned out to be rather nominal. It was a hybrid scheme. The Slovenes have very good flanks, the team quickly counterattacks. We needed to close both the middle of the field and the edges, so we decided to play like this. And in the course of the match, they switched from the diamond to a 5-4-1 formation and brought the matter to victory.
– For what reason was Alexander Golovin replaced at the beginning of the second half. How does Alexei Ionov feel, who did not make it into the application at all?
– He wasn’t ready today. Alexei retained a slight spasm, although he did not receive any injuries. But we do not risk the health of the players. Golovin said during the break that he had doubts because of the muscle. I replied to him: “Okay, we will change you at the very beginning of the second half.” Russia has two more days before the match with Slovakia. Let’s see if both can help us.
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– Why was the young debutant Maxim Mukhin, and not a more experienced player, released in the end of the game as a substitute in the support zone?
– This is due, firstly, to the fact that he knows how to play football. That is why Maxim is in the national team. We needed his abilities. Mukhin cleverly covers the zones, he is fast and mobile. At the same time, it makes no difference whether he has a lot of experience or not. We believe in all the players we challenge. There was no doubt about it.
– What is the difference for you in the functionality of left-hander Yuri Zhirkov and right-hander Vyacheslav Karavaev on the left flank?
– They have different positions. Zhirkov is more experienced and judicious, at the beginning of the match we needed his calmness and experience. Yuri was useful to us. In the second half, he got tired, and Karavaev came out. Here mobility was already needed, the ability to block zones and not allow the same Ilicic to unfold. Zhirkov had not played for a long time, and it was difficult for him to spend 90 minutes on the field. We are glad that he is here and helped us win.
– At the end of the match, were you released to replace Anton Zabolotny, and not Alexander Sobolev, to give the Sochi striker the opportunity to play in front of the home stands?
– Yes, the match took place in Sochi, but it didn’t matter. The Slovenes seized the initiative in the end. We needed a more mobile and faster footballer who knows how to properly cover zones. In addition, Zabolotny plays 5-4-1 at home in Sochi. He did not even come out to the position of a striker, but acted on the opponent’s defensive midfielder. This is a tactical task that Zabolotny coped well with in Turkey as part of the League of Nations.
– Did you manage to turn off Ilicic from the game?
– It is clear that a football player of this class cannot be completely turned off. But the tactical model we relied on worked. And Ilicic, of course, demonstrated his individual class. There were moments in which it was difficult to contain him. Josip scored a beautiful ball and performed it superbly at this moment.
– How will you prepare for the match with Slovakia?
– A very serious plus is that the game with Slovenia ended relatively early. The team will now have supper and recovery will begin immediately. Tomorrow’s training will also be of a recovery nature, and after it we will fly to Slovakia. Doctors also have to do their bit and determine who is in what condition. We, however, need to study the closest rival and place a bet on the squad that is capable of solving the tasks assigned to it.
Source site russian.rt.com