Valery Karpin has spoken about his side's chances this evening when Spartak Moscow will host Chelsea with both teams knowing that a win tonight will all but secure their passage to the next round of the UEFA Champions League. However, Karpin feels the Meat's injuries for tonight's match will affect his side more than Chelsea's.
"Perhaps there is some plus in that we played on Friday and Chelsea played a day later. Alex, however, is 99.9% out of the clash," Karpin told Championat.ru.
"Chelsea have much more tangible absences with Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, as Lampard has not been playing for about six weeks. I feel the loss of Alex for us is much more important. We will look to him to demonstrate his leadership off the field for the group.
"[Chelsea] are one of the best or even the best team in the world, it will be very difficult but the players and staff are ready to play."
After Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti expressed his concern about the artificial pitch, like many other coaches who have taken their side to Moscow, Karpin reminded them of the 2008 Champions League final.
"In that match the pitch was natural, not artificial, as the lawn is now. Therefore [John] Terry slipped, we should not draw parallels between that game and tonight. This is not a final for either of us," explained Karpin.
Karpin refused to give away too much about the style Spartak will approach the game with but it seems likely they will aim for the same angle taken against Marseille in their 1-0 snatch and grab victory in France.
"I watched the Aston Villa game and they had moments in the first half but the second was nothing like this. Adventurous football? I can play eight attackers but tomorrow we need to beat Chelsea. Initially our task will be to stay in the game, live, and let's see. But it could already be game over by then. Our task in the Champions League is to qualify from the group and that remains the same, because of two wins we will not change our game.
"Aiden McGeady will be fit if nothing happens between now and the game, he was rested against Alania after a knock in the internationals.