In an interview with UEFA.com, CSKA Moscow defender Pontus Wernbloom gave an assessment of his side’s 2-1 victory over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old Swedish international, who was fortunate to avoid dismissal from the contest after the match official booked his teammate instead of giving Wernbloom a second yellow card, commented that he and his teammates have gained confidence from playing four matches over the past two seasons against Manuel Pellegrini’s side and stated City are vulnerable to the counter-attack.
“We know that they are going to come against us with big numbers and we know that they are vulnerable in the counter attacks,” Wernbloom is quotes as saying on UEFA.com.
“We know this. We’ve played them four times now in two years and we know they’re going to give us space because like I said before they come forward in big numbers against us – almost eight men who are staying with two central defenders. We know that [Seydou] Doumbia is faster than them, when they press us, we know we can counter them out and we managed to do that especially in the first half.”
CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky confirmed this was his game plan and his players had worked it to perfection.
“We played our No. 2 and hoped for counter attack and our plan worked and we had chances in the first and second half and we are happy our plan worked,” Slutsky said.
The Russian boss went on to say that his side also benefitted from Manchester City’s fixture list, which saw the English champions play their bitter cross-city rivals Manchester United just four days before their Champions League encounter with CSKA Moscow.
“Obviously City had a very important match against Manchester United at the weekend and they probably didn’t have time to recover,” Slutsky told UEFA.com.
“We had an extra day and that probably had some impact on the match.”
Wednesday results saw CSKA Moscow move into third place in Group E of the Champions League, with Manchester City dropping into last place.
In order to advance to the Round of 16 in the European competition, City will likely need to win their remaining group fixtures against Bayern Munich (home) and AS Roma (away).