The Dagestani team’s head coach Guus Hiddink speaks about Anji`s preparation for thesecond part of the season.
- Mr. Hiddink, the second training camp is coming to an end. Have you managed tofulfill all the work that you planned?
- Yes, we work according to the plan. We started training in Dubai when the boys had just come from vacation. Then we worked here in Marbella, increasing the intensity of workouts. We held two helpful friendlies. We possess all necessary information about the players’ physical condition. I see they are in good trim. I`m satisfied with their approach to the job and their level of preparation.
- These two games gave you necessary food for thought, didn`t they?
- Yes, our first match was held against a Spanish Third Division team. One could say their level wasn`t high. Our following opponent was rather serious and experienced. We made some mistakes, conceding a corner kick goal and allowing the opponent to take the lead. I liked the way our team reacted and shifted the momentum in the match. On the whole, I’m satisfied.
- Do you already know which player will take Samba’s position as he has left the team?
- No, I don’t know yet. But the transfer window will be still open in Russia for a longtime yet.
To be honest, Samba`s departure is a rather serious loss for our team. Though he had a contract, according to which he could transfer to another club. Samba was, let`ssay, a big boss in our defence and it was solidly built with him. That’s the reason why we didn`t concede so many goals in all the tournaments that we participated in. Even on offense, Samba scored several winners off of set plays.
This is a loss but we cannot regret it and shed tears over it for long. The club management works hard and I think we`ll be given a list of footballers able to replace Samba.
- Unfortunately, forward Lacina Traore missed the Spanish camp as he was makingan appearance in the African Cup of Nations. Did you follow his play?
- He wasn`t at camp with us and, unfortunately, he didn’t spend so much time playing forthe national team. Traore will join our team soon and we`ll certainly assess his physical state. Of course, if he had spent more time competing for the national team he would have been in better form now. It’s a pity it didn`t happen.
- Anji will hold the first official match of this year vs an opponent, which you happened to see with your own eyes. What impression did Hannover make on you?
- This is a rather serious opponent. The team performs in one of the strongest national leagues – Germany’s Bundesliga – and they are not a bottom club. Hannover will, after all, have certain advantages: the team has already held a few official matches.
And our forward Traore will miss the game due to disqualification.
- Despite all this, we`ll put all our efforts into advancing to the next round. We want tomake successful appearances not only in the Russian Championship and the Russian Cup,but to progress in the Europa League as far as possible.
- Hannover`s match experience is probably not their sole advantage …
- Yes, they also have a number of other strong points: a rather strong attack, players who only need one chance to score a goal. However, our team is also rather good and we must be well-prepared for the match.
- In conclusion, I can`t but ask you about the newcomer Willian. He is obviously a man full of life and has already become part of the team. How quickly will he manage to integrate into the team’s play with his new partners?
- We are always glad to see new players in Anji and they are always warmly welcomed on the team. Of course, that’s connected to the great atmosphere on the squad. The same can be said about Willian: he is evidently happy and glad to be here. Of course, he`ll need time to understand our play but talented athletes don`t need too much time for it.