Russia winger Fedor Smolov says that supporters intent on fighting at Euro 2016 should do so away from stadiums.
The Russian FA have been warned that a repeat of violent scenes in Marseille following their 1-1 draw with England, when fans charged their opposing supporters inside the Stade Velodrome, could result in their team’s expulsion from the tournament.
But Smolov has appealed for fans not to cause trouble at their do-or-die Group B clash with Wales in Toulouse’s Stade Municipal, and also claimed that English and Welsh fans’ provocation of Russians has been as much to blame for incidents so far.
“I’m not really going to make any statements. I’d like the supporters to go on backing us. As for what goes on around us, there are a number of videos on the web where clearly the English and Welsh fans provoked them. These things mustn’t happen,” the Krasnodar forward told a pre-match press conference.
“If people are intent on scrapping, they should do that elsewhere and not in the stadium.”
Russia go into the fixture not only with a potential ban hanging over them but also need a victory to have any hope of progressing having picked up only one point from their first two games.
And the 26-year-old admitted that the nature of the task makes Monday’s fixture the biggest of his career to date.
“It’s not only me, but all of the players want to be able to celebrate a victory tomorrow,” he continued.
“At this stage of my career as a footballer it is the most important game that I have faced. We have not just come to play three group matches, so we will do everything we can to reach the last 16.”