Russia manager Fabio Capello expressed satisfaction Friday with the successful performance of the country's clubs in the Europa League after three sides knocked out strong opposition to advance into the next round.
Improving standards in Russian club football is a major priority for Capello as he seeks to turn the national side from underachievers into worldbeaters in time for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 edition hosted by Russia.
"The results which the Russian clubs achieved this week in the Europa League made me very glad," the 66-year-old Italian manager was quoted as saying on the Russian Football Union's official website.
"All three clubs managed to advance into the next round despite the very tough opposition from strong rivals. I hope that the next round will also be successful for our clubs."
Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg beat English Premiership giants Liverpool on the away goal rule, while big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala overcame German side Hannover 4-2 on aggregate.
Two-time Russian champions Rubin Kazan dethroned last year's Europa League champions -- Spanish high-flyers Atletico Madrid -- beating them 2-1 on aggregate.
In the next round Zenit will take on the Swiss club Basel, Rubin will face another Spanish side Levante, while Anzhi will oppose another English Premiership outfit, Newcastle.