Viktor Goncharenko praised the mental strength of his CSKA Moscow side after they kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive with a 2-1 win away to Basel in Group A on Tuesday.
CSKA came from behind to win at St Jakob-Park thanks mainly to the impact of half-time substitute Alan Dzagoev, who scored the equaliser and was then involved in setting up Pontus Wernbloom’s lashed drive that won the game.
The result means CSKA have won all four of their Champions League away games this season and they draw level with Basel on six points with two games to go, much to the delight of their coach.
“We are pleased with the fact that we have preserved the intrigue in the group,” Goncharenko said.
“Although following the three halves with Basel it was hard to say that we will continue this way.
“The team showed that with will and character everything is in order. By changing the positions of some players, we managed to improve the actions in the attack. Glad to have won.”
Basel host Manchester United in their next group game, while CSKA welcome the section’s bottom side Benfica to Moscow.
And Goncharenko believes his side are now in a good position to claim second place in the group behind leaders United, who have a perfect 12 points from their four matches.
“Basel to play at home with United, the clear leader of our group,” the coach added. “Secondly, Basel are waiting for a difficult trip to Lisbon, and Benfica will be angry after a major defeat in Switzerland.
“I cannot say that it will be easier for us. But Manchester United have already decided their main task – and maybe some motivation will not be enough for them.”
Dzagoev’s introduction made the difference for CSKA and the Russia international was delighted to help his side collect a crucial three points.
“It wasn’t easy entering this kind of game after being out injured for quite some time,” said Dzagoev, who was not fit enough to start.
“I’ve been at CSKA for almost 10 years now and we’ve always been famous for our resilient character. This helped us tonight and should help us in the last two group games.”
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