Credit: ZUMA Press Scanpix
Credit ZUMA Press Scanpix

Currently, CSKA Moscow have the worst stretch in the last 20 years. The Russian powerhouse lost 5 games in a row in all competitions, but according to CSKA’s president Andrey Vatutin, there’s no panic at the club.

Free throws this season

Points made: 14,3
Accuracy: 79,2%
Place in standings: 3
Record max: 30
Record min: 5
Most made FTs: Tornike Shengelia

“Naturally, nobody feels pleasure from what is happening,” Vatutin said in an interview with Match TV. “We want to win, but the situation requires patience, professionalism, understanding of the ongoing processes, and hard work.”

“There is no panic at CSKA - we see the reasons for the failures, we know what to do, and we are confident that we will cope. It’s impossible to change the situation in one day or a week. There will be no miracles, but I am sure in a good future,” Vatutin added.

CSKA’s president also reminded that the club had a four-loss streak last season, but the team managed to bounce back.

“Our team simply ran out of gasoline. However, last season we also had four defeats in a row. This happened even at a later stage, on the way to the EuroLeague playoffs. 

From early January to mid-March, we won seven matches, lost ten, including four in a row, and we were solving the situation with Mike James. But then we got a streak of victories, beat Fenerbahce, and had excellent chances in the Final Four,” Vatutin explained.

CSKA’s president was also asked about the possibility of firing the head coach Dimitris Itoudis, but Vatutin remains confident in the Greek specialist.

“Any head coach is always under pressure, he is doubted, this is the specifics of the work. It is impossible to go through the whole year perfectly, and during recessions, people often find system errors, considering them to be normal work moments. 

Itoudis is a long-lived member of CSKA’s history. During this time, Dimitris demonstrated results, the quality of the game, and the ability to overcome difficulties. 

In the summer, we signed a new contract precisely because we have no doubts about the coach’s qualifications and his effectiveness, we had no reason not to extend the cooperation. The team completed the tasks for the last season. Moreover, without the two most important players, we were one shot away from the EuroLeague final.

If you're talking about burnout and fatigue from working in one place it's definitely not about Itoudis. Believe me, now he is more than motivated, otherwise, Dimitris would have told me in the summer that he wanted changes, and he would not have stayed without other proposals.

Everyone makes mistakes, Dimitris is no exception, but we see no reason for drastic decisions. We continue to trust him and work together,” Vatutin gave a detailed comment.

Vatutin also admitted that CSKA’s financial situation is not ideal, stating that some of the agreements broke down due to coronavirus pandemic.

“The situation is not ideal. The owner and sponsors fully fulfill their obligations, for which we are grateful to them. But additional sponsorship is lacking. Because of the covid, some preliminary agreements broke down, we are trying to find new proposals. 

This is why we left space on the front of the uniform in the EuroLeague. It is unusual for us, as well as for many fans, to do without the CSKA letters, but we need a place to advertise a sponsor,” Vatutin said.

Vatutin was also asked about CSKA’s newcomers Alexey Shved and Kenneth Faried. Speaking of Shved, Vatutin said that he likes the current Russian star version more.

“It sounds absurd, but I like the current Shved much more than the player who was the leader of Khimki. Alexey agreed to a new role and copes with a huge amount of work on both sides of the court.

I think his problems with making shots are connected precisely with physical fatigue, which now affects the entire team. Over time, the problem will probably be resolved, we will get involved in the season, catch the rhythm, and we will hit the shots. 

Shved is the highest-level attacking player, and he will definitely show himself. By the way, Alexey is already the best in the team in assists - with the minimum number of turnovers,” said CSKA’s president.

However, speaking about Faried, Vatutin said that the fans must be patient.

“Kenneth was a star in the middle of the last decade, and that remains in the eyes of experienced NBA fans. The past does not play for him.

It’s been a difficult start for Faried because he arrived after the official season started. He did not have time to move adapt, as he got into a series of practices, matches, and long flights. 

Do not forget that Faried played European basketball only in a short tournament, at the 2014 World Cup. He is very diligent, completely devoted to the game, and will still help us. The time for conclusions has not come,” concluded Vatutin.

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