Competition news


21 Oct 2008
Miguel ?ngel Lotina faces a Russian legend during Depor’s debut at the group stage of the UEFA Cup: Valey Gazzaev. The Basque coach knows that a victory for his side would be crucial, but he’s also aware that a defeat won’t affect so much his plans in the competition. For the moment he has confirmed that Valer??n, Z? Castro and Lopo will be starters.

Valery Georgievich Gazzaev is a former international striker that made his career in Russia and especially in Dynamo Moscow, club were he scored 70 goals in 197 appearances (1979/1985),  he was even the top goal scorer of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup during the season 1984/1985. After his retirement in 1986, Gazzaev started his career as a coach and won several titles in Russia, like the 1995 league with Spartak-Alania Vladikavkaz.

Later he coached the U-21 squad of Russia (2001-2002) and the national squad (2002-2003). He joined CSKA Moscow in 2004, club where he has been very successful winning the UEFA Cup 2004/2005, as well as the Russian Premier League in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and the Russian Cup in 2002, 2005, and 2006. Gazzaev's CSKA Moscow was the first side from the Russian Federation to win a European competition since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The Basque coach talked at Abegondo’s press room after the last training of the squad and before the trip to Russia. He started explaining why Diego Colotto wasn’t called for the game ?Colotto is out because he’s resting, I considered that it isn’t a bad thing for him to stay. On Sunday he will enter into the plans again. I am very happy with him.?

Later he explained his plans in defence ?Z? Castro and Lopo will play and I don’t discard to see Adri??n (Piscu) playing at the right-back position. Adri??n has demonstrated that he can play at any position. He’s always concentrated and only committees a few mistakes. I don’t want to see Manuel Pablo performing for the fully ninety minutes, he has played too much after the injury. I will take the decision before Thursday. The centimeters contributed by Adri??n are also something to have in mind.?

The presence of Valer??n was also confirmed as a journalist asked about the participation of El Flaco in the game ?We are thinking in putting fast people in front of Valer??n, that because he needs team mates in order to pass the ball.?

For Lotina a victory at the Luzhniki stadium will be important, but he’s also aware that a defeat won’t be the end of the world ?The important thing for us is to qualify. If we defeat CSKA, we will surely qualify, in the first or second place. If we lose, nothing will happen, because we will still have other three games. The idea is to win, this without raising too much our self-esteem. It will be good to win the group, because in this way we will avoid the third places of the Champions League.?

About the rival, the Me?aka-born coach commented: ?I believe it’s one of the best teams in the UEFA Cup. They have a pretty strong striker, someone who is fast and who is Pichichi in their league (Wagner Love). Besides he’s Brazilian. They also have several international players for Russia.? About the synthetic grass at the Luzhniki stadium, he said: ?No matter the grass is synthetic, everything is fine. You should look very closely in order to get noticed. You won’t pay attention to it since the ball will run normally, but what changes is when the ball hits the ground.?

Finally, Lotina talked about the tactic for the game ?We will try to have the ball possession, but always refining our defensive concepts. We should be ordered and always trying to attack. We will defend our style of playing and will try to win the game. My biggest worry are the five hours we must spend in the plane in order to get there, I don’t care about the temperature. We will play in a great stadium and also in a great city, there’s no pressure over us and we aren’t the favourites to win the UEFA. This match is a gift to us.?

The Ordzhonikidze-born coach is aware that his team is living the best moment of the season, seven points behind the leader FC Rubin Kazan in the Russian Premier League, but with a streak of six straight victories in the competition and with Vagner Love on fire as the Brazilian has taken his tally of goals to twelve on the Russian competition.

Gazzaev talked with reporters and affirmed that his team is going for everything, for the UEFA and also for the local competition, and that a win over Deportivo would be crucial ?Right now is when we are thinking of the match with Deportivo. We are fighting in several fronts and we don’t want to lose any track. The local competition still possible and now we are focused in the UEFA. The match against the Spanish team is very important because in a short league like this one, to win at home is decisive, especially during the debut. Deportivo is one of the strongest teams in the group and if we win, we will mark the differences with three games still in dispute.?

Contrary to what happens at Depor, Gazzaev appoints that he won’t make rotations inside the squad ?I haven’t made rotations at the moment, because for the club the league is as important as the European competition. I am satisfied with the performance of the boys, they aren’t failing at the key moment of the season, no matter the tireness accumulated for the intense work done in the league.? It was also know that an assistant of Gazzaev watched the past game with Racing in Santander and that the whole Russian team was studying the video during Tuesday.

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