Oleg Kononov gives his thoughts on the squad travelling to Dubai
Oleg Kononov gives his thoughts on the squad travelling to Dubai

Spartak will tomorrow travel to the UAE for their first pre-season tour, which will last till January 16. Head coach Oleg Kononov will have 26 players at his disposal.

Those will include goalkeepers Maksimenko, Selikhov, Tereshkin and Shitov, defenders Ayrton, Gaponov, Dzhikiya, Kombarov, Kutepov, Maslov, Mironov and Rasskazov, midfielders Glushakov, Glushenkov, Zobnin, Ignatov, Lomovitski, Melgarejo, Tashaev, Fernando, Ymyarov and Hanni and forwards Ze Luis, Adriano, Rocha and Melkadze.

Rebrov, Bocchetti, Eschenko and Gigot will also travel and continue their recovery in Dubai.

Oleg Kononov has elaborated on his choice of players in an interview with our press office.

— Roman Eremenko and Ivelin Popov have not travelled. Why?

— We have terminated our agreement with Roman. This option was written down in the contract and the Club decided to activate it. Roman Eremenko is a good player, I have spoken about this before. But I can’t guarantee him a place in the squad. We have young players in his position too. Currently they might not have some of Roman’s qualities, but they need to keep developing and help the team.

We are letting Ivelin Popov go for the same reasons, who is a quality player after all, one who’s contributed to the title-winning season by the way. Recently however he hasn’t played as much as he would have liked. We have terminated his agreement today, as well as Marko Petkovic’s. They will have an opportunity now to showcase their best qualities at other clubs. I wish them all the best.

— What can you say about Aleksandr Samedov, who’s left the Club?

— It’s a similar situation with him. We have promising younger players competing for this position. Aleksandr wants to play too, on a regular basis. He is undoubtedly a quality player, with an illustrious career behind him. But he is at an age where he can’t bide his time and wait for his chance on the bench. He can still be a regular at another club, with a lower level of competition for places.

— What about Jano and Artem Timofeev?

— We hope these players can feature regularly on loan at other clubs. They need to play as many minutes as possible. We’ll monitor their progress closely and hope they will develop.

— There are a lot of young players going on tour. Can you tell us more about them?

— In the UAE we’ll go through a lot of training exercises and we’ll need four goalkeepers for that. Rebrov is not with the main group for now, so we’ve taken two young keepers: Shitov and Tereshkin.

Some promising young defenders have travelled too. I think they should not only train with the main team, but also compete for places with their more experienced, senior counterparts.

Midfielders Glushenkov and Ymyarov are our debutants, the Club have bought them from Chertanovo. They have proven themselves in the first division over the first half of the season and we want to take a closer look at them.

As for Ignatov, it’s important to note he hasn’t played in the last couple of games, because he was overloaded and physically couldn’t compete in training. Now we start afresh and Mikhail should prove he joined the first team for a reason.

— Do you plan to trust young players in the future too?

— I can say that young players will feature more for Spartak-2 and U21s, more than they have before. In my view it’s more important for them to play regularly than just train with the main team. On my part I’ll watch U21s and Spartak-2 games closely. Those who haven’t been called up to the first team yet will have a chance to train with the squad in the near future. But only if they make an impact for Spartak-2 or U21s. I’ll base it on my own impression and also views from Victor Bulatov and Alexey Lunin, who we keep in touch with.

We’d like to thank Ivelin Popov, Marko Petkovic and Roman Eremenko for their time with us and wish them future career success!

Date: 8 january 2019, 17:30
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