FC Rubin head coach Kurban Berdyev speaks ahead of the upcoming game against FC Lokomotiv Moscow
–Mr. Berdyev, how is the preparation going ahead of the upcoming fixture?
–We train normally. Thanks God, everyone is fit
–Is Azmoun fit enough to play?
–Yes, he's training with the team
–Who is not?
–Chico has some problems. He's having an individual training programme, as for the rest of the players, everybody is fit
–Lokomotiv are on a good streak in the Russian League. Does their current team resemble the team who won the title last season?
–Yes. They look quite well now. Bad results in the European competitions may happen and are not an indicative. Regarding their European campaign, they did have some good chances and the outcome could have been different if they had scored first.
– Do you put any special emphasis on the possibility of Smolov´s appearance this Sunday?
–Their attackers are so good that whichever player comes on the pitch will be a reinforcement thanks to their technique and intelligence. From my point of view, their attackers are among the best in Russian Premier League today.
–Did their games against Porto bring you any new information on Lokomotiv?
–No, they didn´t. I know Lokomotiv and their players quite well. These games prove once again that they are good team now, but they are on a bad streak in the European competition, it happens sometimes
–FC Rubin had some issues in terms of attack in the last few matches. Why do you think it happened?
–I think, the absence of Azmoun was the reason, though as I was saying there are no irreplaceable players. And because of some lack of stability in midfield as well. Midfield is very important for us.
–The team´s unbeaten streak lasted 11 games. Did the defeat affect the team in terms of morale?
–It did in a way but not strongly enough to impede us from properly preparing ahead of the Lokomotiv game
–How challenging will it be to line up the defence now?
– Granat trains with the team now, so we don´t think this would be a problem.