Ahead of KF Krasnodar’s UEFA Champions League clash with Chelsea on Wednesday, the Russian club’s English fitness coach John Phillips has called for his players to bring out their aggression to defeat the Premier League side.
“Chelsea, same as most English clubs, they’re going to be aggressive, the speed of the game will be we high,” Phillips told the club’s official website.
“They’re doing OK in the league, but they will want to come and they will want to really try and dominate so it’s going to be tough, obviously with the injuries we’ve got and things like that.
“But for me, it’s just we have to fight, we have to work hard, and try not to be intimidated by them in any way, so it’s a lot to do in the mentality and as well as the physicality.“
Phillips said he knows the level of ability within Chelsea’s playing ranks, and admitted that his side needs to be wary of the skill and physical attributes of the Premier League side’s players. But he stated that his team can counter that ability with intensity and aggression.
“Obviously, it’s the technical ability, also the speed and power,” he explained.
“They have a lot of players who can individually do something out of nothing. I think the key is if we work hard, if we’re aggressive, we need to concentrate for 95-96 minutes. We can’t switch off because you’ll get punished by this sort of team.
“So it’s almost as much mental as it’s physical for this game. Don’t give them respect and allow them to play, we have to be aggressive and take the game to them.”
Phillips also said Krasnodar’s approach will have to be flexible enough to deal with the Premier League side’s ever-changing formations.
“I think it’ll depend on how they want to come out and play,” he explained.
“Their style of play, they change it quite a lot. They changed formation against Southampton from Manchester United, so it will depend on how they see the game.
“If they look at it and think they can come and run over us then I think it’ll be quite open. Which I think probably helps us because it means that there’ll be opportunities to counter-attack.”
Krasnodar play host to Chelsea on Wednesday on Matchday 2 of the group stages of the competition.
The Bulls drew 1-1 with French side Rennes in their first match in Group E, which currently sits with all four clubs on one point after Seville and Chelsea shared a goalless draw in their Group E opener.