Cherchesov: Second goal was the turning point

Russian national team has beaten Turkey 2-0 in UEFA Nations League match in Sochi on Sunday, the 14th of October. Coach Stanislav Cherchesov took questions from journalists after the match


- You said before the match that you did not expect anything supernatural of Turkey. Was it the way it happened? And how did you like pitch?
- The pitch was the same for both teams and I did not find it bad. Footballers did not pay attention to that either. As for Turkey, we knew that we cannot start monotonously into the game, we should not give them an opportunity to seize the initiative. That is why we started with pressing from the opening minutes, grasped the initiative and scored. The visiting team has many young and fast players and they started opening up after the goal. Turkey manifested everything we knew about. We played three matches against Turkey lately and they showed an identical performance in all three.

- Despite Akinfeev’s retirement, we can see that there are many other excellent goalkeepers. What can you say about Guilherme’s performance?
- I would keep from commenting on individual players. Lunev suffered an injury and Guilherme appeared in the last two matches. We have no doubts about any of the players that are invited to the squad, goalkeepers and field players alike. But new matches will follow in a month’s time and everybody must be in a fine shape.

- Are you pleased by the national team’s performance or there were still shortcomings?
- Turkish players are very skilful and fast, while Lucesku is an experienced coach, known for organizing excellent team play. There were a few situations in the first half when we gave was to unnecessary turnovers. This led to Turkey seizing the initiative and we need to work further on this because similar situations occur in other matches as well. We need to improve our self-control to avoid situations when we generate problems to ourselves. On the other hand, we performed well tactically and scored twice. I think that spectators were pleased by our performance. We now have 7 points and are leading the table in our group. Football is different to rhythmic gymnastics and points are added for victories only. We were victory-oriented and secured a positive result.

 - It appeared from the stands that Russia was not playing intensively enough. 
- We performed quite intensively. The match against Sweden was quite energy consuming, we made two substitutions today and I am pleased by everybody’s performance. It has been three days since our last match and I can let you know detailed statistics, as soon as we have them. You will see that our performance today was on a high level.

- You won both matches against Turkey. What do you think about current standings in the Nations League?
- We are confidently leading the table but have not won the group yet, although it looks beautifully know. We still have a match against Sweden ahead and we need to collect points in that match. They will play against Turkey before that and it may happen that, based on the result in that match, we will win the group automatically. Turkey had their last chance today to win the group but we have our own tasks and we solved them successfully.

- There were many pigeons on the pitch today. Was this a nuisance for footballers? 
- Apart from pigeons, we say 45 thousand fans which were very active. We are very thankful to fans. Unfortunately, we had to disturb the pigeons a couple of times. We will use other flank more often next time. Pigeons are a good omen and it is great that they brought us luck.

- Based on what you said, you would like the match against Sweden to have no impact on group standings.
- It makes no difference for us. We are playing for our nation and our flag. We need to show excellent performance in all matches.

- Neustaedter has scored today. Was that a set piece?
- We work on set pieces and he was exactly where he should. So that was an excellent goal.

- You detached him from the squad before the World Cup. Is he now back as a lineup player?
- Well, we simply did not add him to the final squad list for the World Cup. We found that there were other players that performed better than him at that moment. We were guided solely by sport principles and there was not anything personal involved. We talked many times with Roman about that. He has been in an excellent shape the last two camps and he proves to be the lineup players. But then we do not know what is going to happen in a month.

- What was the turning point in this match?
- The second goal. And that is particularly true because it came toward the end of the match. The question would have remained open if it came in the first half. But as it was, Turkey started losing heart and we grew even more confident. So the second goal put the game away.


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