As we’ve been looking ahead to tonight’s Europa League tie with Anzhi Makhachkala we’ve been rather dismissive of the Russian side’s chances. After all, they are at the foot of the RPL and the only team in the league without a win after 11 games so it does seem as if the tie is there for the taking.

But an away leg in Europe is always going to be tough and Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas is wary of the Eagles while admitting that he’s surprised by the goings on in Dagestan.

“They are radically different from what Anzhi built in these past years,” AVB said. “The changes are so radical and dramatic that you find it hard to recognise the team and the project they set out to do in the beginning.

Andre also suggested that Anzhi’s minds may be elsewhere during the 90 minutes.

“It looks apparent that staying in the league has become their priority,” he added.” They’ve got one point out of the game against Sheriff so it’s going to be a difficult game with difficult conditions. We don’t want to come here and play with the competition — we want to be serious about the project in that way.”

Anzhi’s demise has left us in one of this season’s most straightforward groups but as Villas-Boas intimates, focus and concentration are needed if the hosts aren’t to upset the odds.

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