After a disappointing goalless draw against Samara, in the Russian Cup over the weekend, CSKA Moscow arrived in Israel yesterday, ahead of its UEFA Cup round of 32 return leg at Maccabi Haifa.
With CSKA having failed to score in its first two games of the season, against Samara and at home versus Haifa, Moscow coach Valery Gazayev has come under fire, and failure to advance at Haifa's expense could undermine his position.
However, after landing at Ben-Gurion airport yesterday, CSKA's players showed no signs of pressure.
"We have a lot of respect for Haifa, but I am sure that we will win and advance," said Brazilian forward Jo.
Jo's countryman, midfielder Dudu Cearense, said he did not expect Haifa striker Yaniv Katan's absence to have any impact on the game.
"No one player can beat us by himself," said Dudu. "Maccabi Haifa is a very good team, and we will have to be careful of each and every player."
CSKA captain Evgini Aldonin said his team had been surprised by Haifa's performance in the 0-0 draw in Vladikavkaz last week.
"Haifa is a worthy and dangerous opponnent. I don't even want to think about failure, however, " he said.
Several hundred CSKA fans are expected to make the trip from Moscow.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now