Dick Advocaat’s pre-Euro 2012 pleasure at Russia’s form and fitness was reinforced by a thumping 4-1 opening day victory over Czech Republic but the Dutchman still wants improvements.
While the final scoreline was comprehensive courtesy of a double from midfielder Alan Dzagoev and further strikes from Roman Shirokov and substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko, Russia also missed a host of presentable chances.
Striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov was the most notable offender, and when Czech winger Vaclav Pilar made it 2-1 just after the interval it looked as though Russia’s profligacy would prove costly.
Dzagoev’s second and Pavlyuchenko’s effort eventually sealed the win, which was inspired by a brilliant display from Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin.
But Advocaat knows his side cannot afford to pass up the sort of opportunities they created with regularity against Michal Bilek’s Czech side.
The Dutchman said: “We are quite happy, we scored four goals and in any international game that is a very good result.
“We could have scored more goals, in fact we should have scored more as we had a lot of chances.
“At 2-1, we made it very difficult for ourselves so we have to get better at that because maybe a better team would have scored more against us.
“It could have been 2-2, there were moments where we need to be sharper, at certain points they had a lot of space and were very dangerous.
“But this was our first game and we are really happy with the result.”
Advocaat reserved particular praise for Arsenal’s Arshavin, who is currently on loan at Zenit St Petersburg, after his superb display of midfield artistry.
He said: “He worked very hard and he played very well. He is a very important player for us for the way we play and he was very, very good. I am very positive about him.”