The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Mamaev says side’s chances hit by injuries
Russia’s Pavel Mamaev admits his side have been hurt by injuries ahead of their Euro 2016 opener against England.
Krasnodar midfielder Mamaev’s own prospects of being involved on Saturday may have improved due to the enforced withdrawals of key men Alan Dzagoev and Igor Denisov, but their squad strength has taken a serious hit.
Leonid Slutsky’s side trained yesterday wearing T-shirts supporting Denisov, the anchorman who was forced out of the tournament this week with a thigh complaint.
Mamaev said: “We wanted to support Igor. It is very unpleasant because Denisov is a key player for the team.
“He was vice-captain in our last match and this tournament was very important to him.”
Assessing how their Group B opener in Marseille stacked up, Mamaev added: “I think England are a strong team.
“Of course, they have worldclass players but first and foremost they are a big team in Europe because they are a team, not individuals.
“But I believe that we have a very strong attacking team.”