Andre Villas-Boas absent as Zenit tackle unbeaten CSKA
Banned Zenit St Petersburg boss Andre Villas-Boas is confident his reigning Russian champions will cope in his absence against unbeaten league leaders CSKA Moscow on Saturday.
Moscow: Banned Zenit St Petersburg boss Andre Villas-Boas is confident his reigning Russian champions will cope in his absence against unbeaten league leaders CSKA Moscow on Saturday.
The former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham manager will be missing from the bench in Moscow as he serves a six-match suspension for pushing an official in Zenit`s defeat to Krylia Sovetov Samara.
Zenit sit third, six points behind CSKA, and need a win on Saturday to keep tabs on the Red Army side
"Regarding the bench, there is no number one coach, number two or number three," Villas-Boas assured a news conference.
"We are all technical staff and we all hope to lead the team."
Victory for the hosts will see CSKA matching Zenit`s record-winning run of eight matches established on their way to last season`s title.
CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky, who got off to a bright start as Russia`s national team manager winning both of his matches in charge, said: "I have no doubt that Zenit will come to Moscow to play for the win.
"They need to achieve a positive result to make sure the gap between us doesn`t widen.
"I expect a very interesting match on Saturday as CSKA and Zenit have won the last five Russian titles. I believe this season these two teams are also the main contenders for the title."
CSKA`s city rivals Lokomotiv are placed second, four points off the top, and take on strugglers Rubin Kazan, who have just parted company with manager Rinat Bilyaletdinov.
Two-time former champions Lokomotiv are chasing a third straight victory and have shown good form on the road, winning all four of their away games so far.
Head coach Igor Cherevchenko said that he has set his men to play from a position of strength.
"Our season`s main goal is to play for the win in every single league game regardless of our rival`s name," he said.
"In the Premier League almost any team, maybe except CSKA and Zenit, experience problems with attacking play as the majority of the league clubs prefer to sit in defence and counter-attack.
"At training we have been learning how to dominate play. The match at Kazan will show whether we are doing it right."
Fixtures (all times GMT)
CSKA Moscow v Zenit St Petersburg (1100), Amkar Perm v Kuban Krasnodar (1330), Rubin Kazam v Lokomotiv Moscow (1600)
Spartak Moscow v Rostov (1030), FC Krasnodar v Dynamo Moscow (1330), Anzhi Makhachkala v Terek Grozny (1600)
Ufa v Ural Yekaterinburg (1300), Samara v Mordovia Saransnk (1530)