Gumyanov admits: didn't expect this muchArticle
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Lada Togliatti had an excellent season so far despite having many inexperienced players in the squad. Coach Alexey Gumyanov talks about these achievements.

Gumyanov admits: didn't expect so much

Lada Togliatti have performed well above the expectations so far in the Champions League. Though the team have two serious injuries, Marennikova and Bliznova, the young players in the team proved that they are up to the challenges.

Gumyanov is really pleased with his playersLada won against Hypo by three goals in the first game and still has a fair chance to go on to the finals – just as they did last year. Coach Alexey Gumyanov talked to Russian daily, Sport Express, about the chances:

“Of course three goals are not much. Sometimes not even ten are enough and Hypo are a strong team.”

A week has gone since the first leg and the Hypo side already emphasised how important it is for them to prepare for such an important game without any other league matches to think about. Gumyanov also makes a point on this:

“I noticed that whenever we can prepare a whole week before a game, we usually play well. There are many young players in the team with not so much experience and they are not ready for such a mental pressure. We have beaten, for example, Zvezda away, but three days later we lost against a weaker team Rostov…”

Nevertheless, most bookmakers would still give the better odds for Lada. Gumyanov also believes that the Austrian side are the favourites to go on to the final.

Bliznova could not help the team this season“It would make no sense to deny that Hypo have an advantage over Lada in individual qualities and experience. On the other hand, Lada can also win whenever no one would expect them to do so. The favourites don’t always take the victory, and we have a three-goal lead anyway.”

No matter if Lada would reach the finals or stop at the semi-finals, the young Russian players have already achieved more than expected. Coach Gumyanov admits that he didn’t expect so much this season:

“This was surprising to me, no denial… I did not expect reaching the semi-finals. Our major ambition was to give a chance for our young players to get high level match experience as Marennikova and Bliznova are injured.

“Consequently, we just went out to play not caring about the results or how far we get. This attitude paid off. The expectation is still not to qualify for the final at all costs, though we are not going to surrender in Austria…”

TEXT: (based on Sport Express)