Taras Mikhalik told uefa.com he had no doubts about the gravity of FC Dynamo Kyiv's situation as they travel to Russia to face FC Rubin Kazan in Group F, noting: "We have to win or we will achieve nothing."
Four points in as many games have left the Ukrainian champions at the foot of Group F, albeit only two adrift of table-topping FC Internazionale Milano and one behind Rubin and FC Barcelona. However, with defeat potentially spelling the end of their UEFA Champions League knockout stage dream, defender Mikhalik recognises that taking three points from the newly-crowned Russian titleholders could be crucial. "We have to win or we will achieve nothing," he said starkly.
'Not really fresh'
A 3-0 weekend triumph over Ukrainian arch-rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk has given Dynamo renewed belief, while Mikhalik and team-mates Artem Milevskiy, Andriy Shevchenko, Yevgen Khacheridi, Oleh Gusev, Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleksandr Aliyev had a lift following their participation in Ukraine's 1-0 FIFA World Cup play-off defeat against Greece last Wednesday. "That win will help us mentally as we were not really fresh after the games against Greece," Mikhalik admitted.
Absent for over six months with a knee injury, the 26-year-old Mikhalik returned to first-team action in October, and is aware his side will have to be at their sharpest to prevail in Kazan. "It's going to be difficult," he said. "People thought they were lucky to be champions last year, but they have proved they are the strongest side in Russia; a good, well-balanced team. They are not Inter or Barcelona, and I won't single out any individuals – even Alejandro Domínguez – but they are strong as a team."
Inter and Barça spent two days in Kazan prior to their Group D matches to acclimatise, with both leaving the Tatarstan capital with draws, but Dynamo flew in on Monday, hoping Russian coach Valeri Gazzaev's knowledge of Premier-Liga football from his time at PFC CKSA Moskva can help undo Rubin. "We have a good, clever coach," said Mikhalik. "We must put his tactical ideas into practice on the pitch if we are to succeed."
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