Capello wants more from Russian players

AFP, Tuesday 9 Sep 2014

Capello happy with Russia's start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign

Russia's head coach Fabio Capello gestures as Belgium's head coach Marc Wilmots, left, kicks a ball in the background, during the group H World Cup soccer match between Belgium and Russia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, June 22, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Fabio Capello has said he is happy with Russia's start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign but that his side needed to improve if they want to reach the final stages in France.

The Russians defeated minnows Liechtenstein 4-0 in their opening Group G encounter on Monday.

"It was a good game," the Italian said of his side's first match since they failed to make it out of the group stages in the World Cup in Brazil.

However, Capello is aware that two of the Russian goals were own-goals and another came from the penalty spot.

"We created a lot of chances but unfortunately we also missed too many of them," he said.

"Many of our players looked really good but I think we need more days together to progress as a team. We definitely need to improve our performance in clearing the ball out of defence and putting pressure on our opponents."

Capello said after the World Cup flop in the summer that his squad needed an injection of "fresh blood" and he praised the new players brought in against Liechtenstein.

Among the newcomers was 24-year-old Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper Yury Lodygin who was selected ahead of the experienced Igor Akinfeyev.

Capello said he had wanted to give the younger goaltender a chance to feel at ease in the national setup.

The manager also said he was happy with the performance of Spartak striker Artem Dzyuba.

The 26-year-old forward, who previously had been ignored by Capello, came on as a halftime substitute and set up Russia's third goal from the spot after being brought down in the box and then scored the fourth.

"Dzyuba deserved a call up into the national side with his solid performances in domestic league," he said.

"Against Liechtenstein he worked well like the other young players. Many of my footballers are in a positive mood. I was happy to find that out."

Russia are joint top of Group G after the first round of games alongside Montenegro, who beat Moldova 2-0. Austria and Sweden, who drew 1-1 on Monday, share third spot.

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