MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti)
Spartak owner Leonid Fedun refused to say Tuesday whether Unai Emery is on the brink of being fired and criticized the ex-Valencia coach's team selection.
Before Spartak's 2-1 Champions League group stage win over Benfica on Tuesday, reports in the Russian media had claimed Emery would be fired if the Russians lost their third group stage game in a row.
When asked if that was the case, Fedun said: "If? And if a meteorite falls to earth tomorrow?" and did not elaborate.
During the game, Spartak's young Georgian midfielder Jano Ananidze distinguished himself with pinpoint passing and mazy dribbling before being substituted on 57 minutes.
Ananidze, 20, has started two of Spartak's 12 league fixtures this season, coming off the bench in a further five games, and Fedun said Emery should include the Georgian in his team more often.
"It's a shame that the coach rarely puts Jano in the side," Fedun said.
Spartak finished second in the Russian Premier League last season under Valery Karpin, now the club's executive director.
Spartak had been expected to mount a title challenge this season but are sixth in the league after 12 games and 10 points adrift of leaders Anzhi.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.