By Nikos Varlas/ email@example.com
Three defeats for CSKA – two in VTB and one in Euroleague – is a big losing streak if you measure it by the club’s standards. That’s why Eurohoops reached CSKA‘s president Andrey Vatutin, who exclusively spoke about the current situation, which by some is already considered a crisis.
– In your opinion, what is the reason for the team’s crisis?
“It is difficult to single out one factor. The players accumulated tiredness, not only physical but mental too. The feelings compared to the season’s start, when the guys missed the game and visibly enjoyed playing, are not the same. Note, that not only CSKA but all other big European teams from Spain, Turkey, Greece – didn’t look supernatural as we did in October and November. The teams are subconsciously waiting for the deciding stages of the season to start and at the same time they are busy with closing the roster holes created by injuries. There are no clearly dominating teams in any European tournament now, the wins come to those who are better motivated any given night. From the first day of the season we could not use our full roster due to injuries and last weeks’ schedule is very difficult. Still the pressure level remains the same. Even the biggest favorite cannot pass all season with no losses”.
– Did three losses in a row shake your confidence in coach Itoudis’ abilities?
“Not at all. We see clearly how the coach is working, we share his basketball philosophy and methods of controlling the team. I’d like to remind that the 30-game winning streak (ed.note: before the three defeats) is the second best in club’s history and most of the specialists and fans were praising our team’s game until recently. I’d like to officially claim that we are not intended to release coach Itoudis of his duties. Not now, not in the upcoming offseason. We fully trust him”.