Russia captain Artem Dzyuba is surprised to see a lack of faith in Scotland ahead of their meeting in Moscow.
Expectations are low in Scotland ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier at the Luzhniki Stadium after Russia won 2-1 at Hampden last month. Scotland manager Steve Clarke wrote off chances of automatic qualification after Scotland lost 4-0 to Belgium days later.
The Scots have lost four of their six qualifiers, while Russia have won their last five and will qualify with three games to spare if they win and Cyprus and Kazakhstan draw with each other this afternoon.
Scotland have injury problems in central defence and up front but Dzyuba, pictured, expects a tough assignment.
When asked whether complacency would be a bigger danger than Scotland, the striker said: “It’s a little weird that you don’t have that much faith in your team. It reminds me of the situation where Russian fans didn’t have much faith in their team before the World Cup.
“Nothing terrible has happened. The loss to Kazakhstan was a bit surprising but it is a difficult place for anyone to go, partly because of the artificial pitch.
“You have excellent players playing for your side, for clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United.
“Initially Scotland was considered one of the most promising teams in the group. After this one defeat against Russia, you lost faith in your side. That’s a little bit surprising.”
The Zenit St Petersburg forward added: “We take Scotland seriously. We believe it is a tough opponent and we are going to give 100 per cent in this game.
“We are not Spain, Netherlands or Portugal: we can’t play opponents without proper preparation. We are going to be 100 per cent up for this game.”
Russia turned around negative perceptions among their public when they reached the quarter-finals of their home World Cup last year, beating Spain along the way. Dzyuba had some advice on how to go about winning fans over.
“Results are ultimately what matters,” the imposing 31-year-old said. “That’s the only way you can turn this situation around.
“That and the appreciation of your fans. When our supporters realised we loved them, it also turned the situation around.
“We know we can lose but we always give 100 per cent to the game. Results and the attitude, this is the only way.”