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Meet the coaches: Dmitri Khomukha

In the second part of UEFA.com's focus on the UEFA European U17 Championship final coaches, Russia's Dmitri Khomukha talks about the benefits of the tournament for his team.

In the Russia team, the buck stops with coach Dmitri Khomukha
In the Russia team, the buck stops with coach Dmitri Khomukha ©Sportsfile

Dmitri Khomukha has taken Russia to the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final for the second time in the country's history. The former PFC CSKA Moskva midfielder, who was capped twice by Turkmenistan, unveiled the secrets of his coaching success to UEFA.com. 

UEFA.com: How would you describe your football philosophy?

Dmitri Khomukha: My philosophy is to play fast combination football which gives results in the modern game, with a minimum of unnecessary passes. You can't play following a set model in attack, so there's always room for improvisation, and we don't straightjacket our players. On the other hand, in defence, reliability is the key. We can't create dangerous opportunities for our opponents. 

UEFA.com: What is your approach to coaching young players?

Khomukha: The players are at an age now where they become individuals, have their own point of view. So it is vital to have a dialogue with them, and not to say: 'I am the coach, you are the player, just do what I tell you.' We need the players to understand that we want to help them. The players who listen to their coaches and can take criticism the right way, they always progress.

UEFA.com: What is the benefit of a tournament like the U17 finals for a young player?

Khomukha: This tournament is simply a huge experience for young players, that is absolutely clear. When a player plays for his country on the international stage, he goes up against players the same age from other teams. So he is fortunate to play at a level which is usually not accessible domestically. 

UEFA.com: Who has had the biggest influence on you as a coach?

Khomukha: As a player I worked with many coaches and tried to take the best parts from each of them. All coaches are different, as there are so-called 'tacticians' and 'psychologists'. In my career, I try to use all the good moments which help me bring my coaching ideas to life.

UEFA.com: As a former international player, is it more draining being on the pitch for 90 minutes or in the technical area?

Khomukha: I can't really say anything about energy, but it's definitely harder to work as a coach than just to play. As a player you just take to the field and do your best in one position. The coach is responsible for everything. There's a democracy in our coaching staff, everyone can give their opinion, but the final word is mine.

Read the article on Italy's Daniele Zoratto here.