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CSKA enjoy fruits of Russian labour

Coach Valeri Gazzaev reckons PFC CSKA Moskva's Russian internationals will give his side a lift after their unexpected UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying success.

PFC CSKA Moskva coach Valeri Gazzaev believes Russia's qualification for UEFA EURO 2008™ will give his side a lift as they attempt to finish third in Group G and claim a UEFA Cup place.

Gazzaev confident
CSKA are yet to win in the UEFA Champions League this season, and also struggled on the domestic front where they finished third following successive title-winning campaigns. The spring, though, is back in the step of the CSKA players who helped Russia clinch an unexpected place in Austria and Switzerland last week. That has given Gazzaev cause for optimism as CSKA look to draw level with the Dutch champions, whom they trail by three points in Group G.

"Our goal was to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League, and we have failed to do that," Gazzaev said. "However, we still have a chance to play in the UEFA Cup so my players will be sufficiently motivated. They are professionals and we're preparing very seriously. Our Russian internationals are in great spirits too, so the psychological level is high. Everybody is ready to play these last two matches of our campaign at a high level."

Individual mistakes
CSKA have not played a competitive game since ending their domestic season with a 1-0 success at FC Rubin Kazan on 11 November. Gazzaev's contract was extended by three years shortly afterwards, a sign of the faith club president Evgeni Giner has in the coach who led CSKA to the UEFA Cup crown in 2005. Results may not have gone CSKA's way this term but Gazzaev has not been disappointed by the performances. "I have to say I have liked our team play, commitment and desire," he said. "We have played better in the Champions League this year than in either of the last two seasons, but individual mistakes have cost us a place in the knockout stage."

PSV injuries
CSKA's main injury doubts surround Vágner Love and Jô, who both scored in the 4-2 loss to FC Internazionale Milano on Matchday 4, yet Gazzaev expects to have them available on Tuesday. By contrast PSV, who beat CSKA 2-1 on Matchday 1, travel to Moscow well below strength. Captain Timmy Simons and his possible replacement Tommie van der Leegte are both injured while Eric Addo is suspended.

Duo return
New coach Jan Wouters at least had his first victory to celebrate on Saturday as PSV overcame SC Excelsior 4-1. Ibrahim Afellay and Jason Culina are fit again after injury, though the assignment is still daunting as PSV bid to close a four-point gap on second-placed Fenerbahçe SK.

'Very hard'
"It's always hard to be without important players, so we'll have to see how to fill that gap," said Wouters, whose side require a point to be sure of a UEFA Cup place. "Everyone realises this is an important match. If we win, we'll see what happens next, but in this group anyone can take points off anyone else. CSKA are a great team with three very good strikers. They play good football off the wings and behind that they have a strong defensive block. It will be very hard."