Big spenders Anzhi aiming high under Guss Hiddink
Anzhi Makhachkala's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink says his players are brimming with confidence as they chase both the domestic success as well as a deep run into the later stages of the Europa League.
"Anzhi is a team that want to become better and better day by day," the 66-year-old veteran told Russian daily Sport-Express.
"We have our own philosophy and we want to have a wide choice of players and serious competition for places in the line-up as we are playing in three different competitions,"
"We want to achieve success in all of them," said Hiddink, who has hinted at possible retirement after a glittering career when his contract expires at the end of this season.
Winning either the Europa league, the Russian Cup or the Russian Premier League would be a breakthrough for the Makhachkala side, who have risen from provincial obscurity fuelled by the big money signings bankrolled by owner Suleiman Kerimov.
Hiddink said that he was pleased with Anzhi's latest acquisition of Russian international defender Andrei Yeshchenko, who has already boosted the club's defensive performance.
"I believe he will strengthen our defence in the upcoming Europa League matches against German side Hannover," he explained.
Hiddink added that Hannover will have an advantage in the two-legged last-16 tie as the Bundesliga club have already resumed action after the winter break, while the Russian Premiership will not restart until March.
"Hannover footballers will likely be in a better shape as their league, which is one of the strongest in Europe, has already resumed after a break," Hiddink said.
Anzhi have set up their training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where they are carrying out intense preparations for February's Europa League matches and the return to domestic action.
The Russian league resumes on March 9.
Anzhi, from the Russian Caucasus republic of Dagestan was founded in 1991, have had little success in the Russian league before 2011 when the club was purchased by oil and metal tycoon Kerimov.
His financial backing allowed the club to pull off a series of big transfer deals, including Cameroonian star striker Samuel Eto'o and Brazilian veteran Roberto Carlos, who currently works in the club as a sports director after hanging up his boots.
Anzhi are currently second in the Russian Premier League with 41 points from 19 matches, two points behind leaders CSKA Moscow.
"CSKA are leading the league, that means they are the championship's favourites by default," Hiddink said.
"Although last year we performed better than we expected we still need to battle hard for every point if we want to achieve success in Russia."
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