Krasnodar boss expects tougher game against heavily rotated Chelsea side
Krasnodar manager Murad Musayev believes the fringe Chelsea players will pose an even bigger challenge because they will have something to fight for.
There is next to nothing at stake in the game for both sides.
Chelsea will finish at the top of Group E regardless of the result on Wednesday, thanks to their win against Sevilla last week.
Similarly, the visitors have also secured a spot in the Europa League after defeating Rennes in Russia.
Krasnodar Musayev is aware that Frank Lampard will not field his strongest XI at Stamford Bridge.
However, he also believes it will make it even harder for his team since, unlike the regulars, Chelsea’s fringe men will want to make a point.
“If you analyse Chelsea’s recent matches in the Champions League, their [line-up] was different from the one that [they used] in the [Premier League],” the manager told reporters in his pre-match press conference on Monday (via Sportbox.ru).
“In the last round [against Sevilla] Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta [started the game] – these are top players.
“But Chelsea’s first team doesn’t differ much from the second.
“I even think that it will be more difficult to play [against] those guys who have [less game time].
“They will do everything to prove that they should be in the [starting line-up].”
Musayev may have a point.
Olivier Giroud stated his case with his four goals against Sevilla from a similar situation.
Tammy Abraham, who will likely start against Krasnodar, would certainly want to reclaim his spot.
Similarly, Jorginho, Christian Pulisic, and several others would also want to give Lampard something to think about when making future team decisions.