Last week was not a happy one for FC Spartak Moskva. Firstly, their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League knockout phase took a dent with a 3-2 home defeat by Celtic FC. To make matters worse, they lost 2-0 against local rivals PFC CSKA Moskva on Sunday. However, Aiden McGeady says all is not lost and now is not the time to panic.
"It's only two games that we have lost on the bounce," the Republic of Ireland winger said. "I remember the start of last season was worse, but it can all be forgotten if we win the next game."
Inconsistency has been Spartak's main problem this season. At times, Unai Emery's side have played flowing football which has been easy on the eye. However, on a bad day, the team can struggle to keep the ball, while a defence that has conceded 18 goals in just 11 domestic games does not help either. Midfielder Demy de Zeeuw tried to put a finger on why they have been so hit and miss.
"Sometimes we have good games, sometimes we have bad games," he said. "The problem is that we don't play how we want to play and how we must play. You cannot play if one or two players are not doing their job and this is why we are not getting results."
Injuries certainly have not helped. Russia's most decorated club suffered a massive blow late last month as influential midfielder Romulo was ruled out for the rest of the campaign with cruciate knee ligament damage. Goalkeeper Andriy Dykan, who has been in excellent form, injured a shoulder recently and will miss another three weeks.
However, with the international break upon us, McGeady believes the time away could be beneficial for the side ahead of their next Premier-Liga match at leaders FC Anji Makhachkala on 20 October.
"We've got a break now, so I think the manager will examine the videos from recent games and see what is going wrong," he said. "There are obviously a lot of people who are upset and tempers are flaring after our defeats, but sometimes that's healthy."
All is definitely not lost for the Moscow club. They are only seven points off the top of the league table with less than a third of the season gone. The injury crisis is beginning to ease and if they can pick up three points against SL Benfica in two weeks' time, that would also go a long way to getting their UEFA Champions League campaign back on track.
The opinions expressed here are the writer's own and not those of UEFA.
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