Russian FA back Advocaat as pressure mounts ahead of crucial ties

RUSSIAN FA president Sergei Fursenko has given new coach Dick Advocaat a vote of confidence as the pressure mounts on the Dutchman before Friday’s Euro 2012 qualifying tie in Dublin.

Russia’s hopes of qualifying for Poland-Ukraine took a huge hit last month when they lost 1-0 at home to Slovakia. But Fursenko is adamant that Advocaat, who was hired amid great controversy after he had spent just eight months of his two-year contract as Belgium coach, is the right man to turn results around.

“You can see the players are progressing from match to match,” said Fursenko, “and I am optimistic about our future. We have full confidence in Advocaat and fully support him. We were unlucky to lose to Slovakia and it’s important to remember that we have another eight games ahead of us and nothing is decided yet. The thing to remember now, though, is that every game is now like a final. I am sure we will get to Euro 2012, and that our results will improve.”

Advocaat has been urged to ditch the bulk of the squad who performed so impressively at Euro 2008, but fell at the last hurdle in their efforts to reach the 2010 World Cup, losing in their play-off to Slovenia. But Advocaat has insisted he has faith in his current group of players, although he has made changes for the game against Ireland, and the next match on Tuesday, a tough fixture against Macedonia in Skopje. Advocaat has called up Alexander Kerzhakov (Zenit) and Pavel Mamayev (CSKA) in place of Dmitry Sychev and Dmitry Torbinksy. Sergei Parshivlyuk (Spartak) also replaces the injured Denis Kolodin. “I have only called up those who deserved an invitation,” Advocaat said. “Our team’s line-up has the country’s strongest players, and I think they can solve most issues.”


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