Moscow: Russia failed to live up to coach Fabio Capello`s hopes for a high-tempo flowing game when they beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in their opening World Cup qualifier.
A first-half strike from Viktor Faizulin and a late penalty from Roman Shirokov gave Russia the win but Capello said his team still needed to develop a better passing game.
"The movement of the ball was not fast enough, too many touches," Capello said Friday.
"Everyone got the ball and touched the ball two, three, four times. This is not good. You need to move the ball faster."
Russia will improve during the World Cup qualifying cycle, Capello said. He also hoped that first-choice striker Alexander Kerzhakov would end his lengthy scoring drought for Russia in competitive matches including several missed chances at Euro 2012.
Kerzhakov suggested his missed chances against Northern Ireland did not necessarily mean he had played poorly.
"The main thing is that we win. Neither in the national team nor at a club can you divide players into those who score or don`t score," he said.
Kerzhakov has 19 goals and 65 caps for Russia.
First Published: Saturday, September 08, 2012, 12:52