Krasnodar “have to be aggressive” against Chelsea, according to their fitness coach John Phillips, who says the Russian outfit must not be “intimidated” by the Blues.
Chelsea are due to take in a trip to the Krasnodar Stadium on Wednesday night as they seek their first win in this season’s Champions League group stage.
Frank Lampard’s men were held to a 0-0 draw in their Group E opener against Sevilla, and were involved in another stalemate against Manchester United on Saturday which has increased pressure on the Blues boss heading into their latest European outing.
Krasnodar earned a creditable 1-1 draw in the battle of the Champions League debutants at Roazhon Park last week, proving they will be no pushovers on the continental stage by holding their own against Ligue 1 high-flyers Rennes.
Phillips, who has previously worked at Southampton and Queens Park Rangers, thinks Murad Musayev’s men are capable of picking up another positive result when they play host to Chelsea, but only if they stop the Premier League giants from playing their usual game by staying mentally sharp over the course of the 90 minutes.
“Chelsea are the same as most English clubs, they’re going to be aggressive, the speed of the game will be high. They’re doing okay in the league, but they will want to come here and they will want to really try and dominate so it’s going to be tough,” Phillips told the club’s official website.
“Obviously with the injuries we’ve got and things like that, but for me it’s just we have to fight, we have to work hard, and try not to be intimidated by them in any way, so it’s a lot to do with the mentality, as well as the physicality.
“[We have to be aware] of their technical ability, also the speed and power. They have a lot of players who can individually do something out of nothing. I think the key is if we work hard, if we’re aggressive, we need to concentrate for 95-96 minutes.
“We can’t switch off because you’ll get punished by these sort of teams. So it’s almost as much mental as it’s physical for this game. Don’t give them respect and allow them to play, we have to be aggressive and take the game to them.”
Asked if he expects an open game against the Blues in midweek, Phillips responded: “I think it’ll depend on how they want to come out and play. Their style of play, they change it quite a lot.
“They changed formation from the Southampton game against Manchester United, so it will depend on how they see the game.
“If they look at it and think they can come and run over us then I think it’ll be quite open, which I think probably helps us because it means that there’ll be opportunities to counterattack.”