Coach Mircea Lucescu says Besiktas JK have learnt from their mistakes as they again face AC Sparta Praha.
Besiktas JK coach Mircea Lucescu wants his side to learn from their mistakes at AC Sparta Praha on Matchday 3 as they welcome their UEFA Champions League Group G rivals to Istanbul on Tuesday.
Having won 2-0 at Chelsea FC, Besiktas were full of confidence when they visited Prague, but a late Karel Poborský goal gave Sparta a 2-1 win and sent the Turkish champions to the bottom of a tight group.
'Learned our lessons'
Lucescu said after the defeat in Prague that his team had "lost three points" and he echoed that view on the eve of the return. "Carelessness and lack of concentration affected us," he said. "In the game we had control but we let our opponents score after simple mistakes. We have learned our lessons and my players are ready to do everything to proceed to the next round."
Besiktas can certainly take confidence from their domestic form, their 0-0 draw with Galatasaray SK on Friday leaving them unbeaten and five points clear at the top of the Turkish Super League. Their Champions League form is less impressive, though, as they are without a goal in three home games, and Lucescu has respect for Tuesday's visitors.
"Let us not forget that a lot of Sparta players are in the Czech Republic national team," he said. "They have been champions seven times in nine years.
They play a disciplined and tactical game and that is something we are not accustomed to."
The current Muslim festival of Ramadan means that the bulk of Lucescu's squad are currently fasting, but the Romanian coach does not believe that their observance will hinder their chances. "Of course fasting will damage their physical capabilities but it boosts their morale," he said. "I respect their religious beliefs, my players respect their physical well-being."
Kotrba wants win
Sparta coach Jirí Kotrba saw his side lose only their second league match of the season on Saturday, a 1-0 defeat by FC Zlín leaving them six points adrift of leaders FC Baník Ostrava. Still, he was keener to focus on their victory against Besiktas. "We had to win the first game and we did," Kotrba said on Monday. "We want to win tomorrow's game as well."
Two crucial players return for Besiktas, and Kotrba admitted: "We have a more difficult game tomorrow than the first one when Ilhan Mansiz and Tümer Metin could not play. They will play tomorrow. This makes it harder for us, but we will do everything to win."
Kotbra added that his side would not shrink in the face of the fervent support that was in evidence in Friday's Istanbul derby. "We watched the game on video," he said. "I know the atmosphere here. But I do not think my players will be intimidated by that. We have played in the Champions League in four of the last five years."