Dynamo Head Coach answered journalists' questions on the eve of the match against Arsenal Tula.
— This Sunday we will face a team which has recently achieved significant results. Arsenal tied the games against CSKA and Spartak, and won over Zenit and Krylia Sovetov. They have fast and skilled players in the attacking group. We need to play well and reliably in defense, and quickly run into counterattacks when intercepting the ball.
— Arsenal often attack from the wings. Will the main threat come from Zuriko Davitashvili and Daniil Khlusevich?
— You are right. Arsenal players of the attacking group are quite skilled. They have high speed and often go into dribbling. In addition to these two players, it is worth noting an experienced centre-forward who clutches at balls well. We also need to pay close attention to the opponent's long-range shots.
— Can you name any key changes that have occurred at Arsenal since last season?
— We have analyzed the last encounters of this team under Miodrag Božović. Arsenal stick to the 4-1-4-1 formation. The team cannot boast by a large percentage of ball possession, but it plays well in counterattacks. They are active in the rebounding zone and shoot a lot from outside the penalty area. Therefore, we need to play reliably in defense and show our best side in attack.
I know that there is another historical date that relates to the Sunday's match. On this day it will be exactly 76 years since Dynamo beat Arsenal in London by 4:3 during the British tour.
— Tell us about the conditions of injured players.
— Laxalt and Lesovoy will definitely not be available for tomorrow’s match. Varela and Zakharyan partially trained with the team, as did Moro and Szymanski. At tomorrow's training session, we will know exactly who will be able to play against Arsenal.
— There is information that Diego Laxalt will have time to recover by the final match of the year against Zenit. Is it right?
— Now we see a positive dynamic in his recovery, and he is already training individually on the pitch. We must do credit to our medical staff, which helps us bring him to the necessary conditions as soon as possible. Now it's difficult to say whether he will be able to play in the final game of the year or not.
— Can you explain the increasing number of injuries this season?
— We constantly monitor the nature of all injuries of our players. They often happen under loads. If we talk more concretely, Diego Laxalt suffered a muscle injury, while Daniil Lesovoy had a completely different case.
— Has Fabián Balbuena returned from the national team? Will he be available on Sunday?
— Last time Fabián arrived on the match day against Spartak, so he missed it. Now the situation is different — he came back from the national team yesterday. Let's look at his conditions. But I can say for sure that he will enter the team list.
— Vyacheslav Grulev showed off well on the left wing in recent matches. Do you plan to field him there on Sunday?
— I can't say for sure in which position Grulev will start the game against Arsenal, but he will definitely be in the starting lineup. He earned his spot by a high-quality play he showed in recent games. He works hard at every training session, and I am glad to see his professional attitude to work.
— What is the reason of team poor performance after international breaks?
— Yes, we lost to Nizhny Novgorod, but this is not a tendency. In the encounter against Spartak, we could not put the game away and missed a victory in the very end. Last season, after such breaks, there were wins, so you should not look for any tendency here.
— Do you already know Vitaly Meshkov by sight, who will referee the match against Arsenal? Dynamo lost the previous three games under his refereeing.
— Before each game, I look at who will referee it. I remember that Meshkov refereed our match against Nizhny Novgorod this year. But first of all, we need to be focused on our play, and not on who is the main referee.
— What can you say about team physical conditions ahead of the final part of the match schedule?
— We are closely monitoring the loads that the guys receive in the training cycle. Yesterday, the players trained with high intensity, which indicates their good physical shape. Mentally, the team is also good.
— Have you watched the match between Russia U-21 and Spain U-21? What can you say about Konstantin Tyukavin's play?
— Yes, I watched this match on TV. The Russians showed high-quality football. Kostya came off the bench very well, caught the rhythm of the game, showed high individual skills and scored a goal. We are glad that he returns to the team in such a good mood and got an experience.
— What can you say about the match between the national teams of Russia and Croatia? Can you consider an offer to take charge of our national team in the future, if it comes?
— I watched this match. I think that the Russian national team has a good opportunity to make it to the World Cup through the play-offs. As for your second question, we are glad that the work of our coaching staff is highly appreciated, but we do not think about it. All our attention is focused on the next game against Arsenal.
— Do you see Yaroslav Gladyshev’s progress? He scored three goals for the Russia U-19 team.
— Yaroslav can play both as a winger and a centre-forward. I like how he attacks, and how he plays in defense, without a ball. He is an aggressive football player who performs well in one-on-one situations and constantly tears the opponent's defense by his runs in depth. I like how seriously he comes to the training cycle. His goals and assists for the Russia U-19 team are the fruits of his hard work. We are glad that he returned to the team in such a good mood.
— The Dynamo-2 season has ended. Do you plan to involve the players of the second team in your training sessions?
— We constantly involve Dynamo-2 players in our training cycle, when we work out various tactical formations. The second team will continue training until our last matches this year, because we want to have the opportunity of calling the players from there if necessary.