- In recent years, much has been done to popularize the Russian Cup. Will he be able to bypass the RPL in this regard?

- I do not think that the Cup will become more popular than the Premier League, since it has always been and remains the second most important tournament in the country. Still, the championship is a longer competition, in which there is rarely a place for chances, and the winner of gold medals goes through serious trials. There are much more sensations in the Cup: triumphs of teams not of the highest level, unexpected results, experiments with lineups and much more, so it is inferior in importance to the RPL. Historically, the champion is always stronger than the winner of the Cup.

- What can you say about the change in the format of the tournament and the introduction of the Paths of the Regions and the RPL?

- Here, as elsewhere, there are pros and cons. If we discuss the Path of the Regions, it's great that weaker clubs were given the opportunity to express themselves and pay attention to some problems along the way. It immediately becomes clear who is in what condition. As for the RPL Path, I think it's wrong when strong teams are given a second chance after they have stumbled. In the Cup, we have always played for relegation, in my opinion, this is a more correct approach. Therefore, I am not yet ready to assess the new format. Time must pass so that we can look back and understand whether this decision was correct and whether it gave any impetus.

- But the format was changed back in 2022 ...

– Last season turned out to be purely experimental and test. Therefore, I would not draw conclusions from it. It's like judging an airplane that has not yet made its first flight. If we talk about the short term, at least the Cup has added to the attractiveness due to the effect of novelty and eccentricity. Many clubs met four times during one season, which gave intrigue from the point of view of the principled confrontations. The same CSKA with Ural crossed six times, and could seven, if Viktor Goncharenko's wards reached the main final, and so the army team and Krasnodar tested each other's strength five times and gave a chic final.

- The participation of clubs from the Media League also added intrigue. Is it even right to mix professional football and media football?

"The more games, the better. It's just that in my time it seemed unthinkable that a professional team would give way to an amateur one. Now it has become possible. Unfortunately, the level of domestic football has fallen very sharply.

— Are media teams able to motivate colleagues from the lower leagues to become better: to develop infrastructure, to work with fans, to attract attention?

- So far, I don't see it working in the future. "Red Banner" loses to "Amkal", and "Murom" is inferior to 2DROTS, and what's next? The professionals flew out and immediately forgot. Failure will not be a stigma for them for life. I think if we were talking about really painful moments, coaching resignations would immediately follow.

"But they were. For example, the mentor of "Zorky" Denis Lopatin was fired after the defeat of "Amkal".

- Resigned, and then what? Problems as they were, and probably remain. They will play one match and forget it like a bad dream, they will not get hung up on the result. The difficulties are much deeper.

– From the Fonbet Cup of Russia to the Legends Matches. How do you feel about the fact that they are gaining popularity and are held much more often?

"It's very cool. We all gather, communicate, lead an active lifestyle. And we often met before, but in such an updated format it became even better. Different clubs, different teams, consisting of the stars of our football. There is an opportunity to go out on the big field and play like in the good old days.

- Do you agree that many of the veterans are in great shape despite their age? Sometimes it seems that they could compete with many current players.

"In terms of intelligence and technique, some veterans are much better than the current players. Unfortunately, this is a fact. Our generation is superior to the current one in these aspects. Otherwise, of course, we are no longer at the age to compete physically, and we do not train as much as the current players.

— Why was it not possible to pass on valuable experience to the next generation?

- In my opinion, the problem lies in the fact that the profession of a coach began to be relegated to the background. Specialists began to be less trusted. In any team, the first candidate for dismissal is a mentor. Previously, this was not the case, because he was a man who managed almost everything, not just the team. He was also responsible, among other things, for organizational issues. That is, he determined almost the main policy of the club. Of course, the authority of the head coach was indisputable. Now, ex-players going to coach are faced with a lack of respect. And this directly affects the quality of football. But that's not the only reason.

Back in the days when the political system changed in the country, it became fashionable to copy many things from European football in domestic football. However, they were not adapted to our reality, but blindly taken, not realizing that Russia has a different mentality, performers, training system and much more, up to the development of youth football. In this regard, many useful details from the Soviet system are lost.

  • Alexander Filimonov
  • RIA Novosti
  • © Ramil Sitdikov

- Will returning to a model where the coach is a key figure in the club help solve the problem?

- No need to change the model. You just need to make sure that the mentor becomes respected again. So that the player, first of all, listens not to his agent, but to the coach. A person who takes responsibility for leading a team must have a certain charisma, be worthy of such a position. And owners and managers, in turn, should be given a high credit of trust. Only then will something change.

Will we be able to see you as a head coach or at least a member of the staff at any club in the near future?

"No, I don't. I haven't been invited anywhere for a long time. For many years I have been trying to understand why this is happening, but I do not find an answer to this question.

- Let's switch to Spartak, if I may. Guillermo Abascal is constantly changing the line-up, and at the moment the red-and-whites, in fact, do not have the main one. In particular, goalkeepers are rotated. How does this affect the psychological state of the goalkeeper?

- When there is instability in the team, all the performers are unsettled, since everything is interconnected. In such a situation, every goalkeeper understands that he may not come out for the next match. This is a stressful moment, as it is necessary to constantly be in good shape. And with frequent rotation, you can easily lose momentum, not just form. Therefore, none of the goalkeepers of Spartak is able to really show their best qualities. They are constantly preoccupied with the question of whether they will play. Because of this, self-doubt and gross mistakes appear, because there is no feeling that, having made a blot, you will not fall into a deep reserve. And goalkeeper blunders are always in sight, and you can't hide from them. Therefore, this state of affairs has a negative impact on their actions.

- Why does Spartak need Ilya Svinov, and isn't it better to go on loan in order to get stable practice? There is an opinion that goalkeepers get better only with age and with trust.

- The more experienced the goalkeeper, the better he is ready to react to what is happening. This is a fact. As for Svinov, he has a choice: either to progress in a less powerful team, or to stay and gain experience from better partners, while not playing.

- Which option is better?

- It depends on the person. In a weak club, you will take to the field, but at the same time give yourself indulgences due to the lack of competition. There will be, conditionally, ten chances at your gate. In eight episodes you will help out, but in two you will not, and the team will lose. Going after this to a strong team, you run the risk of being left with the same feeling: somewhere I will save, somewhere it will not work, but I will still remain a good fellow. This will not be allowed in the grand. You always need to be at your best there, regardless of how many saves you made before.

- Your stories with Svinov are similar. Both of you moved to Spartak, having established yourself in Fakel.

- In this regard, yes. I got to Spartak ten days before the start of the championship, I was also young and promising. You know perfectly well what happened next. Ilya also has every chance to become number one. Everything depends only on Svinov himself, on his psychological state, on how he will analyze his mistakes and, based on this analysis, prepare for the next matches. It will work out, which means that he will be able to become a landmark football player for the club. It won't work, Alexander Selikhov or Alexander Maksimenko will play.

- Any of them are now among the three best goalkeepers in Russia right now.

- I do not always manage to closely follow the RPL, as I spend a lot of time developing the academy, and at the same time I also train goalkeepers in the People's Team. So I can't answer this question right off the bat or name the top three now. It is necessary to analyze, and not just designate names. The only one who pleasantly surprised me was Stanislav Agkatsev. He began to show a consistently good game, managed to put Matvey Safonov on the bench for a while and was called up to the Russian national team. Good job!