MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti)
Russia failed to live up to coach Fabio Capello's hopes for a high-tempo, flowing game when they beat Northern Ireland 2-0 on Friday in their opening World Cup qualifier, Capello said.
A first-half strike from Viktor Faizulin and a late penalty from Roman Shirokov gave Russia the win, but Capello said his team still needed to develop a better passing game.
"The movement of the ball was not fast enough, too many touches," Capello said.
"Everyone got the ball and touched the ball two, three, four times. This is not good. You need to move the ball faster."
Russia will improve during the World Cup qualifying cycle, Capello said.
"It will be better and better," he said.
Capello said he hoped that first-choice striker Alexander Kerzhakov would end his lengthy scoring drought for Russia in competitive matches, including several missed chances at Euro 2012.
Hopefully Kerzhakov will start scoring "as often as he does for his club", referring to the striker's impressive record for Zenit St. Petersburg, where he was top scorer last season, Capello said.
Kerzhakov suggested his missed chances against Northern Ireland did not necessarily mean he had played poorly.
"The main thing is that we win. Neither in the national team nor at a club can you divide players into those who score or don't score," he said.
Kerzhakov has 19 goals and 65 caps for Russia.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: This Week in Pictures
Infographics: Nobel Peace Prize