— Ilya, one of our readers asks you: sometimes
it feels that you are not confident in your abilities. You are trying to do
some movements, but suddenly change your mind and lose the position. Why does
it happen? Does it take too long for you to make the right decision?
— No, these are all reflexes. There are moments when I do not have time to think at all, so it is just my body acting on its own during some game moments. That’s it.
— Are you working to improve your speed and headwork?
— Do you mean it like putting special emphasis on these aspects? Then no. The basic training sessions include these moments. There is some emphasis on headwork, support, the number of repeated actions, but we don’t have any separate training session for this. Do we really need to improve our speed separately? You know, you cannot really do anything to improve this aspect, even though there are some speed improvement techniques. The gain in speed is too little. If you run a hundred meters in 11 seconds, you surely won’t run the same distance in 9 seconds no matter what you do. Maybe you can save another half a second. But what does it help to gain in football? I think that any physical training coach will confirm my words.
— Yes, football is not like track and field
— Of course. Half a second in track and field is like a gap, it is crucial. The training system is completely different, too.
— Let’s get back to the games against Athletic Club. One of our readers asks: you wanted to exchange t-shirts with Aduris. Did you do it?
— I did. I have his t-shirt at home.
— Do you collect t-shirts of your opponents?
— I can’t say I collect them, but I have several t-shirts. Not too many though…
— Which players do you usually choose? Is there some pattern?
— I don’t know. Maybe I do it because of my mood at the moment.
— Once I asked a player I’ve known since the soviet times: what are you doing with all these t-shirts? You can already open a shop or a museum, since you exchange them almost every time. Do you hang them on walls? He said ‘no, I put them separately in my closet’.
— Well, I don’t put them on the wall as well. I have a shelf for them.
— One of the fans asked: are Kutepov in life and Kutepov on the field different people?
— Yes, they are.
— You seemed to be sad when you answered this question…
— Well, I have to make everything clear. I don’t act like I act on the field in some situations.
— I can’t seem to make you answer… Do you swear on the field?
— Of course the TV cameras do not show everything. I have to swear time after time, even though I don’t like to do it in everyday life. I also don’t like talking too much.
— Do you mean our interview?
— No, interviews are something necessary, so it’s OK.
— Alright. The next question took a direct approach: another fan writes that you are modest and polite in real life, but you have to have sport aggression and nerve on the field. Are you successful in this aspect? Maybe you should take some martial art lessons to develop these qualities?
— I don’t think that Real or Barcelona will invite me if I take these lessons.
— You already have three yellow cards. If you receive one more, you will be disqualified for the next game. You don’t seem to be the quiet type when you are on the field.
— That’s right. Somehow my modesty led me to so many cards… Maybe those who have sport anger receive red cards? (Laughs).
— What do you mean — a red card? Spartak only has you and Maksimovic in the center.
— That’s why we both are trying to behave.
— One of the fans noticed that you experience some problems with the first pass. What is the reason?
— I don’t think that this question is correct from football point of view. Only a coach who sees the problem better than anyone else can talk like this. I don’t perform assists. There is statistics, and I do not have any special problems according to it. Some small mistakes I do must be bothering some people. I don’t know… Of course, nobody can perform 100% passes all the time.
— There is another curious question: Ilya, have you heard about ‘maximum efforts’ in the training process led by Oleg Romantsev? To be honest, I had to look it up in the internet when I read this question. I have known Romantsev for a long time, I witnessed his training sessions, but I never heard about this term.
— I never heard it as well.
— Here’s what I learned from Alexey Tikhonov’s memory:
‘It’s running in spurts, but it’s special because you have to run for 20-22 minutes without stopping. It gets easier after the first five minutes’.
— Sounds interesting… We don’t do things like
that when we are training. There may be some similar exercises, though.
— You mentioned in many interviews that you like Italy. Are you still learning Italian language? — asked one of our readers.
— I don’t have much free time lately. I do my best to spend time with my family, but I’m always on the road because of the games, the training camps. I don’t get enough time to spend even with my family…
— Do you still have the desire to play for an Italian club?
— Yes, and I’m absolutely serious about it. I want to go there very much. This country is amazing. I have a friend there, so my family and I visited him and were happy with what we saw.
— It is a ‘delicious’ country… By the way, apart from Spartak there is also the national team of our country that started summoning you regularly. Does it serve as great motivation?
— I think that being summoned to the national team gives motivation to any player. I always have the desire to play with the national team, since it is very honorable.
— Is the environment in Stanislav
Cherchesov’s team good?
— I can even say that it is great.
— You must be dreaming about participating in the World Cup
— It all depends on Stanislav Salamovich.
— It also depends on your performance.
— Anyway, he is the one to make the final choice...
— One of the fans said: you live in Mytishchi, I live there too. What do you like the most in our neighborhood?
— I like the park. I live nearby. There is also a beautiful Church of the Nativity, I like that area.
— Once you said that you did not really like Moscow. But you need to walk around the city instead of sitting in your car stuck in traffic jams…
— It is true, but I don’t like big cities. I have friends and acquaintances who like the rhythm of Moscow. I walked around the city before my son was born, but now I have some family business and a very tight schedule. Maybe I’ll take a walk in summer, if the weather and time will be right.
— It is highly unlikely: this summer there will be the World Cup, then there will be training camps, the championship of Russia… You mentioned having a son. I won’t ask about his future as a football player, since even his parents don’t know. Am I right?
— (Laughs). Totally. I won’t even make him choose anything. If his father is a player, it does not mean he should be a player too. He will figure it out himself when he gets older, though I already see him running around with a ball…
— Spartak, like any other team, has some groups divided according to interests. It is absolutely ok. When I interviewed Glushakov, Rebrov, Kombarov for our site, I always asked them about ‘Romashka’. Well, I asked the questions of our readers. They didn’t ask you about it for some reason. Is it disbanded already or do wannabe participants need to write some application? Or maybe donate some money to this organization?…
— (Laughs). Those guys from ‘Romashka’ keep pestering me in the locker room. Alright, I’m joking. They have invited me, because they need to have more young members, but I’m resisting. The entry fee is too high for me. The organization is extremely serious after all!
— Do you really read only those books that you choose yourself? Are you not interested in the recommendations of other people?
— Yes. I need to open the book and look at myself. If I like it, then I’ll read it. As for the recommendations of other people — some people told me about great books they liked, but when I bought those books according to their advice I just couldn’t stand them.
— Maybe those people are not right for you…
— Let’s not talk about this.
— Our readers asked about the movies you like.
— I have been watching our movies lately. Russian movies. I like ‘The Heart of a Dog’ so much. I also watch some interesting American films or films from other countries, but it depends on the actors.
— I remember that you said something about liking Omar Sy after watching the French movie, Intouchables. There is another good actor there – Francois Cluzet. They have a really nice duo, but they didn’t make that impression in other films… It’s just like football – one pair is fine, but the other one isn’t.
— Yes, this duo was really great.
— I just have to ask you about Tarasovka’s borsch…
— What about it? (Laughs).
— Many football fans, not only Spartak fans, like to discuss it. Your team has recently changed nutritionists. The fans keep making jokes that they shouldn’t have removed borsch from the menu.
— There weren’t any serious changes in our meal plan. We always eat good food in Tarasovka, nobody made any extreme changes. Of course we eat borsch, how would we live without it?!
— Do you mean that you never come home hungry?
— I can have a decent meal at home too.
— Is your home a good and secure place to stay?
— Of course. It is the most important thing.
— Thank you for this interview, our readers, the visitors of our website and I are all very grateful.
— Thank you too. It was a pleasure to talk to you.