Anji set national anti-record having played 19 RPL winless matches. Head coach of FC Anji Makhachkala shared with Sports Express about the problems the team faced following the change of the club`s development direction. He also dwelled on the ways to improve the most complicated situation in the league table.
- Is the word ‘disaster’ suitable to describe what goes on with Anji?
- It`s was almost impossible to pass such a sharp shift during the season. We realized that it would be very difficult to build a team within such a short period of time. Could the club`s owner take other steps? Most probably, no. As a star-studded team was at the league`s bottom with 15 matches played in 2013.
- That means that Suleyman Kerimov understands well what happened and still happens.
- Yes, he does, though it makes him much pain to see what goes on with Anji. Taking into account all the money spent he wanted to see Anji challenging for top positions. However, the owner isn`t going to abandon the club and the cutdown in spending will be continued as planned. I think that process is justified.
- At the same time, the task to purchase new players doesn`t fall down. Do you believe the team is able to get out of the troubles?
- Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. (Quotation of Winston Churchill). No doubt, we find ourselves in the most complicated situation. Our ability to get out of it depends on the quality of winter training campaign and the skills of those players who`ll transfer to Anji.
Anji, actually, couldn`t have full-squad practices in autumn because of injuries and busy standings. The team had too less practices with full roster.
- Did it have sense to invest heavily in purchase of the world-ranked players and then suddenly get it under such state?
- Not going to the heart of the matter, you seem to be right. When comparing the money laid out and the team`s accomplishments – you`re also right. But we shouldn`t forget about good stadium with hotel that was built within 2 years, about the football academy. The decision to cut the expenses, to sell expensive players was the only correct decision for the situation the club and the team found themselves. As well as that Anji gave much to our league table, the club`s image, football development in Dagestan. It was a real holiday for the republic. As it`s known, feasts are much shorter than the workdays on which you have to work hard and spend less money.
- Could the holiday last longer?
- I think yes, though not long. But the team had to play better for that.
- However, the team didn`t start to perform better after the celebrated players` departure.
- Yes, they didn`t. But could they? I think no. Our team could gain more points, become more motivated, but… Eto`o &C had much higher playing potential. Nonetheless, the main problem lies in psychology, in the inner state of the team.
- Is it what you meant when speaking about a partly lost motivation?
- The problems with motivation periodically occurred to one group of players and or another one.
Failed matches, bottom places on the league table, indefinite status of the team and indefinite roles of some players – all this didn`t bring hopefulness to the players.
I knew it would be like that as I had already ran across typical situation in Samara. But I thought I would cope with it. I partially managed to cope with it, though not to the full. I think it`s because the team has too many organizational problems. In fact, we didn`t have our own place of residence. Star-studded Anji team could no way move to Makhachkala. The question of our current team`s move is pricky for many fans. It must happen some of these days.
- So the final decision hasn`t been taken yet, right?
- The decision is taken. But its realization will depend on Suleyman Abusaidovich. The probability that Makhachkala will become permanent place of Anji team`s residence is high.
- Was the idea originated long time ago?
- Spring failures didn`t stop the owner of the club and again he invested much in the fortification of the squad. However, the team wasn`t built. To my mind, the notion Natalia isn`t just a set of players, it`s something spiritual. It`s the squad united with one target and idea.
- What did you think about when Maximov missed the stoppage time penalty in the Anji-Kuban match?
- I thought all that is specific for the current season, unfortunately. Solomatin made one-on-one situations with the opposing keeper for seven times, but failed to take even one opportunity. Even more skilled players shot wide at the empty goal.
- This chain may be continued if it`s remembered, that Maximov was ruled out to trauma, Gadzhibekov`s jaw injury and that Traore, actually, didn`t take the field.
They don`t say – trouble comes in threes- for nothing. Looking at the list of the injured we can add Solomatin, Eschenko, Mkrtchyan, Demidov, Abdulavov, Akhmedov to the above-mentioned sportsmen. Pomazan missed recent matches to knee joint injury. Football is known to be one of the most traumatic kinds of sport, but I`ve never faced such epidemy.