After a two-hour flight, Partizan squad arrived to favourite Vladimir Putin`s holiday destination – Sochi.
Partizan arrives to the shores of the Black Sea on the back of five straight wins and no goal conceded but Sochi is clearly the toughest opponent our team will face since the start of the season.
Boss Aleksandar Stanojevic seems calm ahead of Sochi away.
“We are definitely in a good moment. We always go for a positive outcome and if cannot win, we`ll try not to lose at least. Sochi is a team from one serious league. They invest a lot and their infrastructure is fantastic. It`s clear we didn`t have a good round 3 draw”, said Stanojevic.
Partizan scanned Sochi from all angles, along with the help of Lokomotiv boss and former Partzian gaffer, Marko Nikolic.
“Sochi is a team capable of scoring at any time. Ecuadorian Noboa poses the greatest threat. He`s been playing excellent football in various Russian clubs for years now. We watched all Sochi games from this season, even some from the last one, and they always play 3-4-3 formation. It`s hard playing against three at the back, against width and lots of players coming forward to finish the attacks. Sochi is always dangerous from set-pieces and they proved that against Lokomotiv last season or against Akhmat during the weekend”.
Fifth-placed in the final Russian PL standings last season, Sochi made full changes at the back this time around.
“I always adapt to the rival, even last weekend when we played against Vozdovac. On the pitch, it`s all up to you and if you have quality you`ll be able to impose your game. We`ll play our game and we`ll see on the green who will succeed in their intentions”, said Stanojevic.
Even a stalemate will be regarded as a positive result. With 450 minutes in a row without a goal conceded, Partizan defence looks quite good ahead of this tough encounter.
“All our players defend. I am pleased with our defensive display. Slovaks troubled us a bit but we didn`t have any problems in domestic championship so far. We rested number of player and we need to take care of everything. I had my doubts about the starting line-up tomorrow but I did change things a little bit and I think we now have the best possible team to face Sochi”.
Due to a Covid-19 measures, there`ll be no spectators at Sochi`s Ficht Olympic Stadium.
“In general, Sochi has no kind of supporters to pressure our players anyway. Of course, it`s easier to play with fans involved, the adrenaline is different, everything seems easier somehow”.
Finally, Aleksandar Stanojevic told us about his expectations.
“Any first-leg result that can give you a chance to secure passage to the next round in return-leg is good. Of course, we all want to win, we all think about it but what matters is a result that gives us realistic chances to finish the job at home”, said Stanojevic.
Sochi away is scheduled for 6pm CET kick-off on Thursday, with local live coverage coming from RTS and Arena Sport TV stations.