Michael Laudrup has been confirmed as the new coach of UEFA Cup hopefuls FC Spartak Moskva, with the former Danish international signing an 18-month contract and pledging to challenge for Russian titles.
The 44-year-old has replaced Stanislav Cherchesov, who left Spartak after their 4-1 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round home first-leg loss to FC Dynamo Kyiv – a result which effectively ended their hopes of reaching the group stage. Laudrup rounded off his successful playing career in 1998 and two years later became assistant to Denmark coach Morten Olsen. In 2002 he took charge of Brøndby IF, winning the double in 2004/05 before leaving a year later, and he spent last season as coach of Getafe CF before resigning in May.
Spartak general manager Valeri Karpin told uefa.com: "We've chosen this coach as we think that he is capable of setting out the team's style and achieving good results." Laudrup, who had also been linked with the position at West Ham United FC in England, added: "Spartak are the best-known Russian club, millions support this team all over the world. This situation can be compared with Spain, where we have Real [Madrid CF] and [FC] Barcelona. However, the difference is that Spartak haven't won the domestic league for a long time. This team has to be at the top, while also achieving good results on the European stage. I think Spartak have a good future."
In the immediate future, Spartak take on FC Baník Ostrava in the UEFA Cup first round on 18 September and 2 October. Laudrup knows all about the competition, having taken European debutants Getafe to the quarter-finals last season, where FC Bayern München edged them out in a memorable tie. In their bid for a first Russian league title since 2001, Spartak lie third, nine points adrift of FC Rubin Kazan with ten games remaining, but only three behind second-placed FC Dinamo Moskva.
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