As freezing Russia honours its armed forces, Spain winger Jesús Navas has been setting out Sevilla FC's plan to "focus on attack" when they meet Moscow's Army Men at the Luzhniki Stadium.
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Tuesday was a public holiday in Russia, and as the nation honours its armed forces Jesús Navas revealed Sevilla FC's plan to attack from the off when they meet the Army Men, PFC CSKA Moskva, in the UEFA Champions League.
"We have to focus on attack, not sit back defending; then the result will come," Navas said when asked how Sevilla were going to approach a first knockout round game in temperatures approaching -10C. "I don't believe the coldness will affect the course of the match. We just have to play our game and get the result. We have been to Russia before and it was even colder so I don't think it is that cold here now."
A glance at the frozen River Moscow that loops around the Luzhniki Stadium, which the hardy could walk across, and the statement seems hopeful. Yet the right winger has cause for optimism having been a member of the Sevilla side that faced three Russian teams en route to UEFA Cup glory in 2005/06, losing, drawing, winning, but always advancing. The 24-year-old is far from complacent, however. "CSKA have strong individuals, especially up front in Miloš Krasić, but he is not the only one. They have a balanced squad, full of quality players.
Sevilla will be shorn of a few of their own leading lights, with Diego Capel and Luis Fabiano failing to make the trip. On Fabiano, who has scored 18 goals this term for club and country, Navas said: "He is a very important player and his absence matters. But the team is in good shape and I don't think the loss of one man will influence us, even if it is such a big player. Sevilla's style is team play – it is not individuals who make us tick."
Navas has more than played his part this season, missing just one of Los Hispalenses' 37 games, his consistency also earning two appearances for Spain after making his long-awaited international debut in November. By contrast, it is difficult to assess Sevilla's erratic form. Manuel Jiménez's side have lost four of their past seven away games, though the other three brought victories, including Saturday's 3-1 win at a RCD Mallorca side who had not dropped a point at home all season, a game Sevilla ended with nine men.
"Our win at Mallorca was very important because it raised spirits," said Navas, scorer of the opening goal. "We have had a few difficult away matches but the team are in good form." CSKA have been warned.