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"My work became my life" - Stanislav Cherchesov

Against many expectations, Stanislav Cherchesov led Russia to the last eight in the FIFA World Cup, winning the affections of an enthralled nation. Cherchesov reflects on a distinguished career as a coach, and the job’s various facets.

Stanislav Cherchesov led Russia to the FIFA World Cup last eight
Stanislav Cherchesov led Russia to the FIFA World Cup last eight ©Getty Images

Can you tell us a little about your coach education? When did you decide you wanted to be a coach and how did you go about it?

I got my A licence in Austria. My Pro licence I got in Moscow as I returned to Spartak in 2006. I took the decision to become a coach during my career as a football player. I played until I was 40 and decided right after that to become a head coach.

You had different managerial jobs – in Austria, Russia and Poland – before taking the job with the national team. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

I began with a small team, Kuffstein, and then step by step I grew until I became the head coach of the national team. I wouldn’t do anything differently.

How do you work with your fellow coaches? How much are you involved in the day-today training sessions? What responsibilities does your goalkeeper coach have?

We started working together in 2009, so we’ve been a team for over eight years – myself, my first assistant Miroslav Romaschenko, physical trainer Vladimir Panikov, and goalkeeper coach Guintaras Stauche. We worked together as club coaches and I then included Paulino Granero, our physiotherapist, for our work in the national team. I play an active part in planning each and every training session and have the final say. All the roles are distributed – one person is responsible for the warm-up, another for tactical exercises, etc. I can honestly say that I am able to delegate the tasks. As far as the goalkeeper coach is concerned, his responsibility is to train the keepers in terms of physiology and psychology. He has an important say with regard to the choice of main goalkeeper.

Finally, a more personal question. For a head coach at this level, the stress is extremely high. How do you control your emotions? How do you keep calm and relax?

A head coach is also a person, a human being. I have my family, my wife and two kids, who support me. I need their support, which is the most important thing. It helps not to get too tense, after all! I work on staying fit, by running and swimming. The main thing, though, is that I love my work and am passionate about it. My work became my life, and my life became my hobby.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s CV
Born in Alagir in the southern Russian region of North Ossetia-Alania, Stanislav Cherchesov began his career with Spartak Ordzhonikidze before moving to Moscow for spells with FC Spartak Moskva and FC Lokomotiv Moskva.

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, he moved abroad and played in Germany with 1. FC Dynamo Dresden and Austria with FC Tirol Innsbruck. The changing political landscape meant that Cherchesov experienced international football with the Soviet Union, the CIS and Russia, representing the latter at the 1994 World Cup, where he made one appearance, and EURO ’96, where he played twice. He had previously had a watching brief as back-up to Dmitri Kharine at EURO ’92.

Following his six years as a player in Austria, he returned there in 2004 to embark on his coaching career at FC Kufstein in Austria’s Regional League West, before moving on to FC Wacker Tirol (2004–06).

In 2006 he headed back to Russia as sporting director of his old club Spartak before taking the reins there as head coach. Subsequent stints followed at FC Zhemchuzhina Sochi, FC Terek Grozny, FC Amkar Perm and FC Dinamo Moskva. His last club assignment before the Russia opportunity arrived was in Poland with Legia Warszawa that he guided to a league and cup double in 2015/16.

This abridged article originally appeared in UEFA Direct 180